Hope when you are struggling with reality

We rightly struggle when pain is ongoing and there seems to be no way circumstances will change any time soon. Even if we know the correct biblical truth, suffering can bring out unique questions and fears. Christians are not exempt from the ugly realities which complicate life.

That said, Christian hope must materialise, otherwise it’s nothing more than wishful thinking. For most believers, there are chapters in life which dish up disappointment after disappointment. Although inescapable, their pain does not have to dictate your entire life. Your attitude in times of adversity is what makes the difference. A humble heart makes biblical hope possible.

Regardless of worldly opinion or personal circumstances; “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). The Lord is the centre of the universe; understanding life and personal purpose in such a chaotic world is simply not possible without a humble fear of your creator God.

While “the secret things belong to the Lord our God, the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Obviously, there are things we shall never know or understand. However, the enormous volume of truth revealed by God in creation and God’s Word is so clear and understandable that you can cling to it. Not only so, but you can pass these truths onto your children and grandchildren. Notice that the purpose for understandable truth is your obedience.

Personal pain does not diminish God’s crystal-clear revelation of Himself or your responsibility to obey Him. Suffering does not lesson or cloud His declaration of Himself, but it does cloud our emotions which we are able to overcome through sheer determination to be faithful.

For authentic faith to live hopefully throughout suffering, stubborn determination of faith needs to be exercised. “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:14). A calm, although possibly stressed faith, grits its teeth and becomes spiritually pig-headed as it trusts God with the things we don’t understand. Despite moments of inconsistent belief, or even behavioural stumbling, you doggedly resolve to “fear the Lord.” You trust the Lord of Lords with the things you cannot control or even influence.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). Notice the connection; choosing to remain faithfully in Christ enables Him to produce spiritual fruit in and through you. Remember that at salvation, you “…were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Central in your rebirth was the Holy Spirit’s guarantee of your transition from earth to Heaven. He must accomplish this to fulfil salvation’s purpose of being “the praise of his glory.” During the darkest periods of severest pain, trust God the Spirit to fulfil His guaranteed mission. Trust the God who knows and understands every part of your suffering that you do not understand. Accept that God feels your pain, He hears your groans as “we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26), “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Knowing all this enables us to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” (Romans 5:3-4).

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