If you are anything like me, you have walked through some experiences in which you desperately needed hope. When I reflect over my life, I see so many circumstances God has used to shape me that at the time seemed hopeless. My parents’ divorce after 29 years of marriage, my own divorce, tragically losing my mom at the age of 35, and navigating parenthood while my husband traveled extensively all ushered in some hopeless feelings at times. Most recently, we all have endured more bouts of hopelessness from the ravages of COVID and the unrest that has befallen our communities. Just thinking about it all can be exhausting!
Trials like these are the very reasons Linda and I are both so passionate to share encouragements with you about holding on to hope – especially in the harrowing. We have seen that even in the midst of trials and frays of life we can live free — not because the circumstance or anything that we do will change it, but because God will change us in the midst of them, if we let Him!
So, what do I do when I wake up to a situation that feels hopeless or when I am overwhelmed? These are the actions that God has made clear to me.
Remember – When things seem completely out of control, I remember that God is sovereign and in complete control. My hope is in Him alone. I reflect on His character — I rest and reset. I meditate on verses like:
- Romans 8:28 – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
- Romans 8:15 – “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”
In Heather Holleman’s book, Guarded by Christ, she talks about Jesus being exactly what we need. In His book, the Bible, God calls Himself “I AM.” And that name tells us He truly is our All-in-All. He is exactly what and who we need, and He provides immeasurably more.
Recall – When I am feeling hopeless, I recall how God has answered my prayers and has been faithful to me in the past. I will replay in my mind, “God, you did this in this situation. You are faithful.” I will often refer to my journal, just sitting on my deck and recalling. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the LORD you God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” Often, I will go to my journal and look for highlights and dates to answered prayer to recall my “faithful God.”
Repent – Through prayer, I look within to see what attitude, fear, or sin I need to confess. I ask, “Where am I not believing you God? What is behind my overwhelmed state?” Isaiah 41:10 says, “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.” Therefore, I confess my sin and my unbelief. I admit I don’t understand, I’m stuck, and I need God. I ask Him to help my unbelief! I lay it down, and when my mind wanders, I lay it down again.
Read – I look to His word to receive what He wants me to know in this situation. What does God say? I meditate on it. I love the Abide app for my phone. It guides me in meditating on God’s word. I also read the Psalms and remind myself who I am and Who Christ says I am. I will also work through a Bible study. The study I currently am working through is Amen, The Story of Scripture from Eden to Eternity, by The Daily Grace Co. I immerse myself in His Word, remembering what Scripture has to say about it.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man (woman) of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”
- Psalms 119: 8,18 – “I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me! . . .Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
Rejoice – I ask God to return to me the joy of His salvation in this situation. The circumstance may not change, but I choose not to act as I feel, but in faith. I fill myself with His Word, I journal, and I praise. I renew my mind and meditate on His Word and presence. I heed these words from the Bible:
- Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice.”
- Psalm 51:12 – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
This process – these 5 Rs – have helped me hold on to hope in the most harrowing of times, friend. I invite you to employ these actions yourself and let us know the ways God ministers to your heart! Or, perhaps you have developed your own way to hold on to hope with God as your strength. We’d love to hear your ideas! Drop us your thoughts in the comments.
Living free above the fray,
Sue M. Lindsey © October 2021