EXPLORING HOPE TODAY
Devotional thoughts from director, Dr Peggy Banks
Finding hope in pain and persecution!
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain:
it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” C.S. Lewis
The first time I read this C.S. Lewis quote, it was frightening to think that the only way I would know God intimately was when I was in pain. I didn’t really understand it until I experienced a deep pain in my heart and life. It doesn’t matter what causes the pain in our lives; it’s the realization that there is nothing you can do to stop the pain once it has happened to you. It can be a negative diagnosis about your health, a loss of a loved one or a job, a setback in your plans in life or a financial crisis.
I remember the first time a trusted friend told me that “God would work everything out for good and one day use my pain to bring hope and blessings to others.” I wasn’t thrilled to hear that truth but believed my friend because I trusted her understanding of God’s Word and witnessed her relationship with Jesus.
It is true that we become most aware of God’s character and love in our times of suffering and pain. In the pain, we realize we are not in control. Paul realized this when he continued to ask God to remove the thorn in his flesh. God finally told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). It is in our pain that we experience God’s grace and power most personally.
God’s Word brings hope in our pain.
Isaiah 40:8. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
Psalm 46:1. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 34:18. “The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
John 3:16-17. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
When you are facing uncertainty, pain or persecution, trust in God. Know that God is there for you. He has not left you alone. God’s power is perfected in your weakness. God’s grace is sufficient to get you through the trials you are experiencing today.
Come away with the Lord and rest in him. Learn from Jesus; let him teach you and heal you of all the pain and suffering you may be feeling today (Matt. 11:28–30). Call a friend and ask for prayer. Let the words of a trusted friend speak to you in the midst of your suffering. Allow God to show you his character and compassion. Believe and walk in the strength that God gives you for each day.
One day, your suffering will be used to bring hope to others so they may grow in their understanding of God’s power and grace. Don’t give up! God is using your story to bring his story of hope and healing to a hurting and broken world.
You are deeply loved.
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