I have to be honest, I have had very little words nor desire to write publicly over the last two weeks. Mostly because all of my words are being consumed by my own need to press in and seek. I journal. Read. Pray. But by the end of the day, I sometimes find myself with fragments of worry and doubt. What will this world look like tomorrow or the next day or a year from now? Will we ever return to normal? I wonder for the very first time, what my children’s world look like for the days to come. And mostly what am I teaching them about Hope amidst trials that are always promised but yet never prepared for.
Hope amidst Trials is an ongoing pursuit of Jesus Christ.
Growing up, I was an only child. I never had the luxury of sisters to play house with or brothers to build forts. It was just me and my stuffed animals. Those stuffies were always the best volunteers when it came to playing classroom. They were also the best comforters at night when I had trouble falling asleep.
When I went to college for the first time, sharing a room with someone I never met was really difficult for me. I didn’t like her simply because she was in my room and always seemed to be in my space. I never saw it as a blessing to have someone else in the same room as me. Until I lost my grandpa to a tragic car accident. I remember the first time returning back to college and lying there looking upward to the wooden slats that held the top bunk and her simply asking, are you ok?
It was at this moment, plus many more that I realized the power of having others in the moments of hardship.
One of my favorite things about being a mom of four is listening to their voices as they lay in bed at night chatting away. Two and Two is the set up for their bedrooms and the giggles (and sometimes bickering) that comes from those bunks are by far one of my favorite things. It reminds me so much about the power of being together and comforts me knowing they have each other to journey through this life together.
I get the same comfort from knowing my husband is beside me each night. Wade is there, ready to be woken up as needed. He is there to laugh with me. Cry with me. Pray with me. He is my comfort as I lay down each night to go to sleep. I am so fortunate to have a large family that I can trust and count on to help me through life when life becomes difficult.
It’s when I am alone in my thoughts that I struggle the most.
I have learned that even though I am surrounded by people I can still find myself very much alone. Like the little girl who used her stuffed animals as her greatest confidant, I can get so wrapped up in my own head and forget everyone around me.
I can flow through the daily motions of being who I need to be. But by the end of the day, I have had so many conversations in my head that I am depleted by evening. Conversations that are a one-sided dialogue about the fear that I am feeling. The overanalyzing of every little thing. The doomsday report. To-do lists. Daily frustrations that I allow to pile up. The inability to take one small thought captive before it turns into a sea of doubt, disbelief, and panic. I know I am not the only one.
Paul from the Bible knew this. C.S. Lewis understood this. And God had a solution for it from the beginning of time.
Occasionally, I find myself thinking like Old Testament days. This virus is like the plague. God is sending us to our homes, removing the bad and creating a modern-day Noah’s Ark. Yes, Revival will come and a new day will be upon us soon, but for now, God is clearing house and teaching us a few things. I do believe this to a certain extent but it doesn’t bring me great hope.
Other times, I find myself trapped in a figment of my imagination and denial. Like the little girl bringing her stuffed animals alive, I tell myself that if I can just pretend that none of this is going on, I will be ok. If I forget about the virus, the crashing of the economy and just confine myself to my home, grow my own food (I can’t keep a succulent alive), live off of the land (we barely have a backyard), then maybe I won’t have anything to worry about “out there”. But this doesn’t bring me great hope.
And lastly, I find myself thinking of a God as Someone who is overlooking me. Protecting me and Sovereign but with a distance. I tell myself that if I just keep going out of my own strength, perseverance with Godly character that all will be ok. But this doesn’t bring me great hope either.
Hope amidst trials is not found in the old, the denial or in the strength of ourselves.
Paul preached to The Church of Corinth that if the ministry that brought death which was engraved in stones (the 10 commandments) brought glory, then how much more glory will the Spirit bring? The Old Testament was a creation of laws for the people of God to follow and thus be protected. However, it was never created to be the final say. The Old Testament was created to be fulfilled.
Jesus came and fulfilled every Old Covenant Law when He died on the cross. Therefore taking away our sickness and our diseases, our condemnation and ultimately our death. Because of Jesus, we can find Great Hope. Knowing that no matter what comes our way, we are created to live eternally with Him. We don’t have to fear because death has lost its sting. When we find ourselves in old patterns of thinking, we must recognize that God is always doing something new.
Hope amidst trials is not found in the denial of our circumstances.
Often times the enemy will try and convince us that if we turn our minds completely to the world that that is unseen, we are living in denial. As believers, we are called to live in this world but not be made of it. How will we ever change the world if we are of the exact same substance?
C.S. Lewis reminds us that looking forward to the eternal world that we are all promised, is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking. But rather it is what we are called to do. It also does not mean that we are to leave the world as it is. We are to help change it! But we cannot do this if we are the same as the world around us. We must take time as believers to set ourselves apart and distance ourselves from what the world is telling us. We must be informed but not conformed by the world.
Hope amidst trials is not found in a God who is distant.
God is not an all-powerful being who stands over us with a distant heart. He is a Father who sent His son and His spirit to be with us in a world that He knew would bring us trouble.
May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13
God created us and loved us and set us up to live and conquer death in a world that was broken and tainted by an enemy who hates us. But He never expected us to do it alone. He sent us Jesus to save us from our sins and remove the earthly veils that keep us chained to an Old Testament way of thinking. He removed the veils so that we may see His Glory through His Son and be empowered through His Holy Spirit.
If you are a believer living life without the daily pursuit of the Holy Spirit, you are living a life of half defeat. We are made to call upon the Holy Spirit in times of trial and defeat. Jesus SENT the Holy Spirit to us and all we have to do is embrace what He came to do. To be still and know. To quiet the noise and listen to His words of Peace and Promise. In order to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, we must possess the Holy Spirit.
Hope amidst trials is found in the 3 in One God we serve.
When I find myself concerned with the destruction of the world and doomsday thinking, I must remember that the veil was torn. Jesus came to earth in order to conquer death so that I may have life more abundantly. God is always bringing a new day full of new Glory and Hope.
When I find myself consumed by the news and the media telling me all of the troubles that are happening in the world, I must remember that God created a special place for all who choose Him. A world that is free from sin, trouble, and heartache and one day, my family will all reside there. I must renew my mind to the Hope that is found in the unseen so that I can help change the world that is seen.
And lastly, when I feel lonely in a home full of people, I must remember that the Holy Spirit is with me, ready to receive my fears, my thoughts, and my doubts. He will speak to me when I am still. He will empower me when I am weak. And He has surrounded me with His presence. The Holy Spirit is always with me and I am never alone.
For the Days Ahead… To find Hope amidst trials.
- When we find ourselves in old patterns of thinking, we must recognize that God is always doing something new.
- We must be informed, but not conformed by this world.
- In order to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, we must possess the Holy Spirit.