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Hope in Times like These

I don’t know about you, but I’m weary this week. Where do I even begin sharing some of the sorrows weighing me down? Well, here’s a few – some of which you might be able to relate to:

*Killer tornadoes that have devastated whole areas – like Joplin, Missouri.

*Daily news reports about disappointing public figures who were supposed to be our role-models but decided to live selfishly instead.

*The sixty-year-old I talked to this week who can’t retire because she’s the bread-winner – with an elderly husband and a handicapped adult child at home to care for.

*The family with a girl in kindergarten who has some kind of kidney problem that doctors now say is causing hardening to a wall in her heart.

*Six grieving children of a godly man who just had to plan his funeral days after a beautiful birthday celebration because he fell ill right after the party.

*A sick family member, a wayward relative, and far too many people we know who are moving further and further away from the Lord who loves them!

And the list could go on and on. How about you? What kind of things are you burdened down by right now? How are you handling them? Are you trying to bear up the best you can – or do you have trust that Someone has everything – yes even the chaos – totally in His control?

These are the times that I have absolutely no idea how people make it through life without the Lord. He is the only One who offers hope – hope for today, and an even greater hope for tomorrow. Listen to what Jesus told His disciples when He was here on Earth, dealing with many similar dilemmas like you and I must face day-in and day-out:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (New Living Translation)

In this chapter of John, Jesus gives His followers a glimpse of some of the problems they would face – including losing Him for a season, being scattered, and even being persecuted and killed because of their faith. Yet what was the hope He was leaving behind for all of us? HE HAD OVERCOME! Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, the penalty for sin was paid – and all who believe in Him have the free gift of eternal life!

Just a few chapters earlier, Jesus spent time describing what the future holds for those who chose to put their hope in Him. Let’s see what we have to look forward to:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3

Yes, even though there is pain and suffering here, someday soon we will see our Lord and Savior face to face! He’s got a special place prepared – just for you and just for me. Notice that He also said we will ALWAYS BE with Him! Jesus – the One who keeps His promises – said He’d be back, ready to escort us to our heavenly reward!

This is the kind of hope our world needs in times like these! This is the exact type of hope you and I need too! So let’s stay strong in our faith – no matter what family, friends, or other fellow humans around us do, think or say. May our witness be more than words: let’s show others that, despite all of our troubles, we trust in the promise given by the Lord Himself that our simple faith in Jesus holds the key to a brighter future than we could ever imagine!

Thought of the Month

So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.

John 16:22