Sunrise over the harbor.
Faith

How to Find Hope In Hard Times

My kids squealed with glee as they ran into the waves of Lake Michigan. While I unfolded my beach chair and positioned it so that the waves could wash up over my feet.  

And I began to worship and pray in that beautiful place.  

There is something about the water that invites me into God’s presence. Something about watching my kids delight in His creation that makes my heart want to sing.  

The massive expanse of rolling waves, reveals God’s power. The sky above showcases His magnificent artwork. And my children’s laughter echoes my Savior’s own joy at their carefree delight.  

Then suddenly a wave washed over my feet.  

And the cold shocked me.  

It really shouldn’t have. After all, I have lived here long enough to know that this Lake is rarely warm. But it still caught me off guard.  

And I realized that is exactly how this life is.  

This is a world where beauty and harsh realities share the same space. Where we can enjoy warm laughter while still feeling the chill of our hard circumstances. Where we can hold both joy and sorrow at the same time in our hands.   

Our world has always been broken.  

But these days its brokenness seems to be more in our face.  

Life seems dark and scary. The headlines on the news are full of loss, destruction, and fear. Our social media feeds are full of fights, arguments, and unhealthy debates between those bound and determined to prove they are right.  

And it can make us wonder: 

How do we keep hope alive in times of challenges like these? 

How do you find faith in difficult times? 

In Matthew eight, Jesus and the disciples got into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee.  

As they crossed the water a fierce storm came upon them. The dark clouds surrounded them. The winds whipped around them. And the waves threatened to crash them.  

And in the midst of this turbulent storm, we see one small, shocking sentence.  

“Jesus was sleeping.” (Matthew 8:24b NLT) 

-Matthew 8:24b NLT

The sentence shocked me at first. But then I began to wonder if Jesus was our example, then could there be a reason for this? Could it be that the whole reason Jesus slept on a boat in the middle of a storm was to show us that it is POSSIBLE?  

But the question remains, HOW is that possible? 

I think Jesus knew He could trust His Father no matter what. He could sleep in the storm because He had no reason to be afraid.  

He knew His Father had a plan. He knew His Father loved Him. And He knew His Father was with him in the storm.  

You see, Jesus knew His life on earth was not the end goal.  

He knew what mattered most was obeying His Father. And He knew His eternal destination with His Father was secure, so it didn’t matter what happened in the storm.  

Either His Father would keep them safe, or He would use the storm to bring them home to Him. 

Jesus completely trusted His Father.  

The best way we can learn how not to lose hope in hard times is to learn to trust our Father. And the best way to do that is to get to know Him.  

Because the reality is, you can’t trust someone you don’t know.  

“The greater knowledge of the goodness and grace of God on your life, the more likely you are to praise Him in the storm.” -Matt Chandler  

-Matt Chandler
River in the woods with the quote that shows how to find hope in hard times.

“But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” 

-Psalm 1:2-3 NLT

Just like Jesus we really have no reason to be afraid, even in the middle of life’s storms.  

But God knows our weaknesses. He knows our tendency to focus on our circumstances. To think about all the worst-case scenario possibilities. He understands our humanity.  

This is why He has given us His Holy Word.  

As we read Scripture, we find encouragement in the verses we read that reminds us of His precious promises to us. And we find hope in the stories we read. 

Clouds above the water with a bible verse to help us learn how to find hope in hard times.

What God says about difficult times. 

When we are in the midst of difficult times, we may wonder what God thinks about what we are going through. We may wrestle with fear and doubt. And we may want to know what God says about what we are going through.  

The following 7 bible verses are great reminders of what God says about our difficult times. 

1)  We have nothing to fear because God is on our side.  

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” -Psalm 56:3-4 NLT 

2) Our prayers are heard by God. 

“Praise the Lord! For he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart.” -Psalm 28:6-7a 

3) He cares about us.  

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” -1 Peter 5:7 NLT 

4) We can count on Him. 

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.” -Psalm 62:5-6 NLT 

5) He will give us the strength to get through it.  

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13 NLT 

6) He is always with us.  

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as  the waters surge.” -Psalm 46:1 NLT 

7) It will all be worth it in the end.  

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” -Romans 8:18 NLT 

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Stories of hope in difficult times 

As we see how God worked in the lives of the regular people like you and me, featured in the biblical stories, we are reminded that He can work just as mightily in our lives as well. 

Reading about how God saw Hagar in the wilderness and provided for her . . . reminds us that God sees us in the storm and will be there for us. (Genesis 16) 

Reading about the woman with the issue of blood and how Jesus took the time to notice her and heal her . . . reminds us that God takes the time to notice all our tear-filled prayers and he will heal us in His perfect way and in His perfect timing. (Mark 5:25-34) 

And reading about how Jesus treated the Samaritan woman at the well . . .  reminds us that even if our storms are the result of our own poor choices,  we can be forgiven and used to bring many others to see Jesus. (John 4:4-42) 

Waves by the beach.

How can we find hope even in dark times? 

As we reflect on God’s Word, we can find hope in difficult times because we know He is right by our side through it all. He has a plan to work it all out for our good. And this life is not all there is.  

As we take the time to get to know God. 

  • To sit in His Presence in prayer.  
  • To dig into His Holy Word.  
  • And to meditate on Scripture.  

We will find that it becomes easier to trust Him.  

We can learn how to find hope in hard times as we spend time with Jesus.

Even when we stand in a place where we are holding both joy and sorrow at the same time. Even when we are in a place where we see both the beauty of this world and the brokenness of this cold life. Even when He asks us to praise Him in a storm.

As we spend time in His Presence, our faith will be built up more and more . . . until we are so confident in our Father’s love for us and His plan for our lives that we can fall asleep on a boat in the middle of a storm. 

The once scary waves now rocking us to sleep as we remember that even they must still bow to the will of their King.

If you found this encouraging, then please share!   

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