Are you going to win the golf game? I really hope so. Are you going on a Caribbean cruise? I hope so. Is someone coming in to do your windows? I hope so. Did you get that big promotion you were hoping for? I sure hope so. Are the kids and the grandkids going to grow up and be what I want them to be? I can only hope and pray that they will.
My goodness, I sure hope so. Hope is not wishful thinking. It’s much more than that. Hope is the confidence that as you try and do God’s will, God will keep His promises to you. God makes many promises. First of all, God promises to be there for you in times of trouble. You can count on God being there to strengthen you and carry you through difficult times. God doesn’t promise to deliver you from difficult times, but does promise to give you the strength to endure, to triumph, to be more than a conqueror over those things which would otherwise defeat you.
There have been many times when people who are going through horrible pain and agony in their lives – times of loss, times of suffering – and they’ve said, “If it wasn’t for God’s presence, if it wasn’t for the strength that God gives me, I don’t think I could make it.” I heard a woman once say, “I never realized that Jesus is all there is until Jesus was all I had.” Christ will help you in difficult times. That’s a promise – remember that.
Another thing God promises is to make good things out of the difficult times. You’ll find that in the midst of all the troubles, you can be sure that God is at work and that God is going to be with you – then out of the difficulty – something good will come. We live in that hope and that expectation. No matter how dark life may seem, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, from which God will bring something wonderful to pass. And another thing that God promises, in addition to being there in times of trouble, in addition to bringing good out of the dark times, God promises that He will never stop loving you. No matter what you’ve done, no matter what mess you’ve gotten into, God will not stop loving you. So there you have it – first, a God that keeps his promises.
A God that says, “In your difficult days I will be with you. You can count on this. I will be your refuge and your strength. I will be there in times of trouble. You’ll have troubles, but I will be there with you and I’ll carry you through.” Then, we have a God who promises that in the midst of all the terrible things that go on in our lives, all the heartbreak, all the suffering, He is with us and He will bring something good out of the tragedies of our existence, out of the pain, out of the sufferings of our everyday lives. That is the promise.
And finally, He promises is that He will never, ever stop loving you. So hang in there, folks. Remember God will never give up on you. God will always be there for you. Live in the confidence that no matter what happens, God is your help and strength.
When it all looks bleak and dark, hang in there. Don’t give up. Never, ever give up hope! Live in the confidence that the God who gave His Son Jesus on the cross will not turn His back on you. He’ll be there. He’ll be there to carry you through the difficult times and give you the strength to endure. He will be there to bring good out of the negative. He will be there loving you through all that goes on. Nothing can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. No matter what you’ve done, no matter what has gone on in your life, you’ve got a God who can’t help Himself. Loving you is His nature and He will love you until the very end. Be of good cheer. In all circumstances – even in death He will be there and He promises eternal life to those who trust in Him and walk according to His purposes.
James Musgrave is interim pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Logan and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association.