In the midst of troubling circumstances, hope can sometimes feel just out of reach, like it’s impossible to really hang onto…but what if hope is hanging onto us? The crazy thing is, hope isn’t some sort of abstract concept, or a “thing” we can grasp –– hope is a Person. Hope has a name: Jesus. And only with Jesus do we find that hope is unstoppable because he hangs onto us, even when we feel like we have nothing to hang onto ourselves.
1. Faith cures your troubled heart.
- There are so many reasons for our hearts to be troubled. But Jesus says our hearts don’t need to be troubled because we can trust in him instead. By definition, we have faith in something we haven’t seen yet. That’s almost unheard of in our current world! We’re used to walking by sight. But faith is choosing to wait in hope for what we haven’t seen yet, and that’s the way we believe God.
- Faith is a gift God gives us, but we must choose to receive it. When we’ve received faith as a gift from God, we still have to choose to exercise it. This choice is before us every day. Every day, we have to make the conscious decision to walk by faith. We can tell when we’re walking by sight and not faith when our hearts grow troubled and turbulent.
- God isn’t negative or pessimistic. He is not sitting back, watching our lives and worrying about whether or not things will work out. We are easily distracted by the events around us, but God is steady and unchanging. Even when we are freaked out, he is not at all.
What troubles your heart today? Are you choosing to exercise the faith that’s been given you as a gift?
2. Put your struggles in the context of eternity.
- Sometimes faith is a moment by moment decision. Especially when we are struggling or suffering, it can be a challenge to focus on Jesus without being distracted by our pain. In times of difficulty, we must shift our focus from the uncertain earthly future to the certain future of eternity.
- There are struggles in the present reality for each of us that are really hard to bear. But we can’t only look at those. We have to look at the eternity awaiting each one of us. The big picture we need to see isn’t what’s happening in our world right now. The big picture we need to look at is God’s beautiful plan of redemption he’s unfolding right now.
- We have all experienced different fears in this uncertain season, but we can’t let our present fears shipwreck our faith. Everyone has an eternity. When we trust Jesus and walk with him, we are promised eternal joy in the presence of God.
Reflect on God’s promises about heaven and eternal life in Christ. How does knowing we’re promised an eternity with the Lord change our reality right now? Are there any ways in which you’re choosing present pleasures instead of pleasures forevermore with Jesus?
3. Jesus is coming soon.
- It might seem crazy, but if Jesus rose from the dead, then his return is a given! Jesus’ resurrection changed everything for everyone forever. His resurrection means Jesus wasn’t just a historical figure –– he’s still alive! And his return is soon.
- Jesus’ return is not just an event that affects our future, but our present. We don’t need to live busy, we need to live right! We need to wake up from sleep. We need to make righteous choices. Nobody gets saved by ceasing from bad things and doing good things, but Jesus invites us to leave behind things that aren’t fruitful to do things that are. We don’t do that so that we can be accepted, but because we already are. God wants a more excellent life for us than we would choose on our own.
- By the grace of God, we’re not where we were and we’re not where we’re going to be. Today is exactly where we are meant to be, and that should stir in us a sense of anticipation. Today the nearest we’ve ever been to the return of Jesus, so today is the day to take the next step.
What ways of darkness did you give up to walk in the light with Jesus? Are there any other ways God is inviting you to walk in the light with him?
4. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
- The world loves to talk about hope as a far off, distant idea that may or may not come. Our hope is a certainty. Our hope isn’t some abstract concept. Our hope has a name. Our hope is a Person, and his name is Jesus.
- In Jesus, we have everything we need. Our hope of a glorious future is the fact that Jesus dwells within each one of us. He sent us his Spirit as the guarantee that he is coming back for us. In these unprecedented and scary times, the hope for each one of us is Jesus and his Spirit dwelling within us.
- The only way to the Father is through Jesus –– he is the way, the truth and the life. No struggle, no circumstance is ever going to change that. His promises hold true and. And we can bank on that, no matter what else is going on around us.
Reflect on who Jesus is, and make a list of some of the characteristics you see of Jesus in John 14. How does who he is give you hope for your present reality?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?