Life Lesson 36: I am learning to live completely surrendered to God. I try to lean…
Life Lesson 17: When my world falls apart and circumstances look bleak, my hope remains in Jesus because He is my greatest source of hope.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
–Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Life happens! It has a way of surprising us. Circumstances can catch us off guard and interrupt the very life we planned. If I put all my hope in my career, my retirement, the stock market, and my education to give me a sense of security in this life, then I will be sorely disappointed and my hope is futile because nothing in this life is guaranteed. Just think, even life itself is not guaranteed. No one knows his or her last day. Scripture reminds us that, “Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here” (Psalm 103:15-16 NLT). Scripture also declares, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalm 139:16 NLT).
I don’t know about you, but these verses challenge me to think about where my hope lies. Is my hope dependent on the things designed by this world, or does it rest in the security of Jesus Christ? When I face difficulty and hardships, I take comfort in God’s Word. Psalm 31:24 (NIV) encourages us to, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Scripture also exhorts: “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him” (Psalm 62:5 NIV).
Is God your source? What does your hope depend on today, and what is your sense of security? I am learning that temporal things cannot and will not bring me lasting peace and joy. My greatest source of hope is in Jesus Christ. He is my security. Because my hope is in the Lord, I don’t have to be afraid when life throws me a curve. In Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) we are told, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
If you’re discouraged, feeling a sense of hopelessness or abandonment right now because of life’s circumstances, take heart and know that the God who created you, sees you, knows you, and nothing that has happened or will ever happen to you is a surprise to Him. He cares about you and He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). I don’t know what you’re facing today, but if it’s any encouragement:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13 NLT).
When life falls apart and challenges me with the things I would normally depend on like my job, my finances, and my relationships, I can confidently proclaim like the Psalmist that, “I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety” (Psalm 18:1-2 NLT).
At some point, no matter who you are, you will experience some form of disappointment or hardship in your life. But with Jesus by your side, you don’t have to be afraid because “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1 NIV). When your hope is dashed, you can put your confidence in the Lord, because He promises that He will never leave nor forsake us. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT) tells us:
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
As followers of Christ, it does’t mean we are immune to disappointments and challenges in life, but the difference is that Christ is our source. When life doesn’t make sense, the Bible tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT). The Lord never promised that we would have a trouble-free life, but He did promise to always be with us to guide us through the ups and downs of life (Isaiah 43:3, Proverbs 23:4).
Jesus cares about you and me, and He has eternal plans for every person who comes to Him in faith. When we believe in the Lord, we can confidently approach the throne of grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). God cares about what concerns us. Scripture tells us to, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1Peter 5:7 NLT). There is not a single human being on planet earth who cares about you and me the way Jesus does. Why not put your trust and hope in Him? What do you have to lose? Only the Lord Jesus is capable of restoring lasting hope.
Perhaps you’re going through a transitional time in your life and the future seems uncertain because what you once thought was your security is gone, and now hopelessness and despair are starting to set in. It’s easy to settle in that space and allow defeat to overcome you, but as a child of the Most High God, when such events happen, we’ve the confidence in knowing that the Lord is on our side. What has happened to you is not a shock to Him. He’s not puzzled by your situation. In fact, Scripture tells us that God is in control of all humanity (Job 12:10). Since God is in control of our lives, we don’t need to worry when unfortunate things come our way because “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NLT).
God has a plan for you and will use every one of your experiences to accomplish His divine will for your life. Let your hope rest in Him. Whenever we are tempted to worry, let’s remember what we are told in Scripture:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
The truth is, getting to this place where your confidence is complete in Jesus takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. It requires faith and trust in the resurrected Christ. To come to a saving knowledge of His grace, you must commit to reading God’s Word, obeying it, and allowing it to penetrate your heart and mind through constant prayer to Him so that when life happens, you know where to go and who to call on.
Every one of us at some point struggles with doubt because we live in a fallen world and things are going to happen outside of our control. Many of us face personal, professional, financial, spiritual, and health challenges every single day. Because it’s easy for the trials of this life to steal our joy, peace, and hope, let us choose today to “think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth” (Colossians 3:2 NLT). I find it helpful to think about the things Jesus did for me in the past. When I reflect on all that the Lord has done for me, I am encouraged about the future not just in this life, but in the eternal life to come.
If you don’t know Jesus, let me invite you to seek Him and let Him be your hope today. Ask Him to come into your heart and be Lord of your life. Remember, when you face difficulties in life and doubt begins to fill your mind, you don’t have to go it alone. You have the Lord Jesus, the only reliable source on your side to encourage you and renew your hope. He is your greatest source!
“Notice the word ‘hope’ in Psalm 62:5. The Hebrew term literally means ‘a cord, as an attachment.’ Every one of us is hanging on to something or someone for security. If it’s someone or something other than God alone, you’re hanging on by a thread – the wrong thread.”
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