How To Retain Hope in the Midst of Trials
Hope. In the midst of the most challenging of times, when the world seems to disregard even the most basic of human rights, the power to hope may feel impossible to find. No matter where we turn or what we do, it’s sometimes difficult to stay positive while keeping the way forward firmly in sight.
Many of us look to our political leaders to restore hope in our country. Yet much of the unrest we continue to experience in our nation today is the result of the hopelessness that many still feel even after election day. But whether we feel powerless to change society or to change our own situation, building up the strength to summon hope is a process we can start to develop today.
How can we maintain hope in the midst of trials? Following these steps can help:
- Reach for the Word (Romans 15:4). No matter what the world may say, the Bible is still the definitive source of wisdom and truth. Start each day immersed in God’s word. During the times when you’re feeling good, do a little exercise: identify scriptures which address your specific needs and which have the power to uplift you. Then write them down and repeat them out loud during your “blue” times (today I was led to Isaiah 26. It’s a great scripture for praising God in the midst of trials, and it seems to “pray us through” much of what we’re seeing in the world today). If you’re hung up on language, try a modern translation of the Bible, like the New King James Version. Playing and singing uplifting, Bible-based music helps too.
- Identify the source (Acts 3:19). When feelings of despair come over you, remember: dwelling there is not God’s will for us. He has not given us the spirit of fear, worry, or anxiety: these are devices of satan that we want to detach from. Repentance is key.
- Meditate (Joshua 1:8). When images of your fears come to mind, God gives you the power to drive them out. Create a mental picture of a positive scenario or outcome instead. Isaiah 26:3 says, “3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you”. Rest, dwell and meditate in the environment of God’s Word until you feel a physical change. Have the faith and patience to wait for God’s perfect timing. If we don’t wait for His will, His word, or His power to manifest within us, we’ll never know how strong our faith can be (Psalm 27:14).
- Pray (Matthew 6:5-14). If you’re not sure how to respond to a situation that has you feeling down, go to a private, quiet place and ask God what He wants you to do. Ask Him to reveal His will and His purpose for you. Pray out loud, pray repetitively, and also pray for our leaders and for our nation. As Isaiah 26:2 says, “Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith”. And as Bishop Blake says, “P.U.S.H: Pray until something happens”! Our bodies, our minds, and our souls thrive and grow by dwelling in God’s word and by speaking to Him through prayer.
- “Press toward the mark”(Philippians 3:14). Take a short, brisk walk in a beautiful place. When you’re back, push yourself to do a good deed for someone else, or do an activity connected to manifesting God’s purpose for your life. Isaiah 26:8 says, “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you”. This is active faith, not passive. Set aside time to immerse yourself in positive activity, and work with determination and fervor! Persevering toward purpose empowers us, and the process uplifts us to heavenly places.
- Keep a Hope Journal (Habakkuk2:2). For thousands of years, writers and artists have employed the technique of journal-keeping to retain thoughts and ideas they can go back to. Create a dedicated journal as a tool to uplift you when feeling down. Add to it the favorite scriptures and prayers identified in #1 and 4. Maybe there’s a song that brings you to your feet when you hear it; write down the title and the lyrics, and keep a recording of the song accessible. Add a color you absolutely love, a picture with loved ones in happy times; an image of a beautiful sunrise or rainbow. And if you can’t find a journal in a color that uplifts you, recover an existing one with colorful fabric or paper. Make your Hope Journal a visual diary to give you a new picture of God’s goodness that you can look at instead when feeling low. Always remember to record the things that brought you joy in Him.
- Fast (Joel 2:12) and drink lots of water. When down or worried, we may tend to overeat. But doing so – especially eating sugary treats – can clog and dull our senses, and can keep the power of God from flowing through us. Fasting brings us God’s solutions, and drinking water keeps our systems flushed.
- Share your testimony (Jeremiah 4:2). Know that our trials are not ours, but are for the benefit of helping someone else get through theirs. Repeating your testimony out loud also resonates in your spirit and reminds us of how God works and triumphs in our lives. Find an “accountability partner”; someone you can trust to share your “rough spots” with, who will keep their eyes on God even when you feel you can’t. And remember to jot down a short version of your testimony in your journal. Seeing what you’ve endured can help you pull through future trials.
Our challenging times have been foretold in the Bible, but as difficult as it may be to believe, we are heading for a great, new day and a time where righteousness reigns. Remember the power of the Resurrection, and that our Savior has endured the worst of trials. This reminds us that just when we think it might be “the end”, God has the power to revive what was lost: even hope.
As Jesus calmed the rough seas and pulled His apostles through the storm, He can do the same for us: and can pull us through any circumstance.
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Romans 15:4, Isaiah 26, Acts 3:19, 2 Timothy 1:7, Matthew 6:25-34, Psalm 27:14, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2, Matthew 6:5-14, Philippians 3:14, Habakkuk2:2, Jeremiah 4:2, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, Revelation 22:12-14, Mark 4:39.
West Angeles Church of God In Christ invites you to live a fuller life today and every day, but remember: “life happens” to all of us. The West Angeles Counseling Center provides support and services to the greater Los Angeles area. and you do not have to be a West Angeles member. If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.
Share Your Testimony – If you have a coping method or scripture which gets you through the rough times, please share your testimony with others below.
Photo, Aaron Burden for Unsplash.