Today, we continue in our series Hope For Today.
Two short weeks ago, we saw God’s handy work on full display with Resurrection Sunday. God is deeply considered with us, our world, and what is transpiring all around the globe.
As we have heard over the last couple of weeks, Jesus is our hope for today and the future, but we must also live with joy as believers. Our joy comes from the hope we have in our relationship with the Lord.
This week, we explore our hurting world and the hope Jesus brings for all of us. Despite the struggles we have endured over the last year, we get a glimpse into the wonderful power of Christ working around us and in us.
There is no doubt that we are tired and ready for the end of the pandemic – I know I am. I have received my vaccine, but the contradictory nature of the pandemic news can stifle our joy in an eventual end.
Don’t get me wrong, I am joyful and hopeful that the worst is behind us, and we can begin a new chapter in our post-pandemic story; however, the reality is a different story altogether.
As a single person, I do not have the same struggles that parents face with school and work situations. I also realize that it is doubly hard for all the single parents out there and their schedules to juggle.
Our world can be soul-crushing! I was listening to Kayla Stoecklein’s new podcast, Rebuilding Beautiful, this week as she recounted the challenge of being a single mother rebuilding her life after being widowed at a young age. Her story is tragic and painful, but yet there is something beautiful in how God is restoring her.
Kayla’s story demonstrates that life is tough, and it affects everyone – believer and unbeliever. God wants us to know that there is hope for our hurting world and the simple answer is Jesus, yet it may take a lifetime to discover Him.
My parents shared a story of redemption from a recent message. In the late 1980s, a sixteen old young man was convicted of murder as part of a home invasion robbery. He was sentenced to life in prison.
For thirty-five years, the family who had been hurt by this young man prayed for his redemption and to come into a saving relationship with Jesus. Through a prison ministry, this young man found Jesus, and that family was in the church service to celebrate that young man’s redemption.
Even now, our nightly news episodes are filled with tragedy after tragedy, but we rarely hear the stories of redemption and healing. Jesus was the reason this family could forgive the murderer. Just because they could forgive this young man, it did not change their pain from this tragedy.
Sometimes God uses our pain to bring redemption for others. It doesn’t take away the pain or hurt, but God does use it for His glory.
Paul encourages us in Romans 12:12,
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
It may seem counterintuitive for us to be patient in affliction, but we can be hopeful in the midst of our struggles.
The secret weapon for believers during times of struggle or hurting is hope, joy, and prayer. We don’t have to have it all figured out, but the hope we have during difficult times is powerful.
It may seem like God is absent in our struggle, but He is not. He is walking right alongside us and even carrying us when the struggle becomes too difficult.
Paul went through dark days and was burdened by thorns of the flesh, but God was right there with him.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God said my grace is sufficient for you1.
God tells us His grace is sufficient, but it can be hard if you have lost your husband or wife or a child or even your job.
When we get something we don’t deserve, that’s grace. As some scholars refer to it, God’s grace, or His divine grace, points to something beyond our current circumstances. It points us towards a hope for the future and restoration beyond where we are today.2
When our world seems to crash down around us, how can God’s grace be sufficient for us?
It is by leaning on Him that we find and have strength. When the Lord told Paul that His grace was sufficient, He reminded Paul that you will still have struggles and hurt, but I will get you through it.
The Lord may take it away, and He might not. While on a mission trip in Russia, I met a bedridden woman, but her desire was to be healed (as would ours). However, while she was still afflicted, she kept a prayer journal. She had the names of people whom she was praying for, for healing, to come to faith, for relationships to be restored. She also kept a journal of prayers answered.
Each time we visited, she wanted an update so she could update her journal.
It’s been a decade since my last visit to her home, but I don’t believe the Lord has ever healed her of her affliction, but I bet there are a lot of people who have been healed, restored, and met Jesus because of her affliction.
Jesus is the hope for our hurting world – He always has been.
When you feel overwhelmed, unsettled, anxious, or are hurting, listen for Jesus’ words whispered in your spirit – My grace is sufficient for you, I will give you what you need for today.
Many times when I have felt a range of overwhelm, anxiousness, and hurt – I hear Jesus whisper to me, My grace is sufficient for you.
Today, may you feel His power, strength, joy, and hope during your tough moments. Let Christ whisper in your spirit when you are experiencing your tough moments – My grace is sufficient for you.
Lord, thank you for today. Please give me strength during my tough moments, wisdom to make the right choices, and joy to be an example for those around me. Please bring a quick end to this pandemic. Amen!
- God wanted Paul to find comfort and security in the grace he had received in Christ—the same thing God desires for all believers. Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 427). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. ↩
- Despite this uncertainty, Paul’s main idea is clear. He asked God three times to remove this thorn from his life, but God told him that divine grace was sufficient for him. The tense of the expression he said may also be translated as “he has said,” indicating that Paul saw God’s statement as more than simply directed toward his situation. God wanted Paul to find comfort and security in the grace he had received in Christ—the same thing God desires for all believers. Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 427). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. ↩
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