Challenging. If I had to pick one word for 2020, challenging would be my adjective. We have witnessed many difficulties in the first few months of this year. We’ve experienced physical, financial and moral struggles rarely seen in our lifetime.
Any one of these feels like a heavy weight, but to fight through all three in three months could prove overwhelming … unless you discover a hope that carries you through. So, where do we find this hope?
First, let’s discuss what hope is not. We often hear the phrase, “I hope so.” This kind of hope does not sustain. It certainly does not last. It is more of a wishful thinking than a good definition for hope. True hope is a confident expectation. It creates an anticipation of future good that motivates us to keep moving forward.
People place their hope in many things…their bank account or retirement fund, health, parents, job, or carefully laid plans. The start to this year has shaken all these traditional sources of security in some way. In our current tumultuous times, where do we find sustaining hope?
I Peter 1:3 says it best. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Jesus provides a living hope that anchors us in the storms of life. We anticipate His promises coming to pass for our future good. That hope motivates us to continue forward knowing He will sustain and strengthen us, regardless of the challenges we may face.
This does not mean we won’t go through the storms. However, we can be assured God will be with us as we walk through the challenges. He guides, comforts, and protects. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the struggles, we cling to His promises that provide a confident expectation of making it to the other side strong and successful. The path may prove bumpy and not at all what we anticipated. With God directing our course, we allow the obstacles to be steppingstones instead of stumbling blocks. With His wisdom, we successfully navigate the journey ahead.
If your adjective for 2020 is challenging, overwhelmed, scared, angry, frustrated, anxious, or something similar, place your trust in the One who can sustain you and provide a hope that transcends your circumstances. Meditating on Psalm 121 is a great place to start:
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.