One day life will get ugly. The beauty of spring will be lost in the coldness of winter. Someone you love will pass into eternity. Relationships will crumble. You might even face life with guilt and remorse that seems greater than you can bear. When life gets complicated, hope seems hard to find. Let me challenge you today to begin storing up hope for the future.
1. Find Stories & Passages of Hope in the Bible.
The Bible has two ways in which we can see hope. We can watch the characters in the stories endure difficulties and come out better on the other side. Joseph, Job, Moses, Mary, Paul and especially Jesus are narratives that see people overcome all kinds of obstacles. The other way we see hope is found in individual passages. Genesis 50:20, Jeremiah 29:11, and Romans 8:28 are good places to start. God has given us his word, and it is filled with stories and promises of hope.
2. Track God’s Answers to Your Prayers.
One of the best ways to build hope into the future is by looking at the blessings of the past. I continually encourage people to write their prayers and then later to list an answer to those requests. I am amazed at how many times God has gotten me through a difficult situation, but it is easy to forget that when times are hard. If you are not the type of person to write things down, then I would encourage you to spend time in reflection regularly. Lately, I have learned to ride in the vehicle with the radio off when I am alone. It gives me time to pray, think and recall all that God has done for me.
3. Develop Strong Christian Relationships.
Over and over I watch people tell me that they can worship God without a Church family. Then the dark days come, and they tell me how alone they feel. God gave us a community of people who can help us when life gets tough. I especially encourage you to develop a handful of deep relationships with people where you can share your heart without regret. All of us need friends throughout our journey of faith. We need people where we can open our soul and let all of the ugly out. The life of faith has dark valleys, but a friend can help light the way.
4. Notice God’s Blessings Today.
A few years ago, I started doing something that has been extremely helpful to me. I decided to begin every private prayer with a time of thanksgiving for what happened the day before this one. I give a few minutes a day to noticing all the good things in my life that God has given me. This was especially important for me because I can be a pessimistic cynic by nature. Seeing the negative things in life comes much more naturally to me. When times get tough, we can easily slide down a hole of darkness create by our own thinking. See the positive that is in your life today.
I realize that none of these suggestions may seem like they are that significant today. You may smile and say how simple this sounds. But please hear me, a day is coming when you will feel like giving up on God and possibly on yourself. These four things are the batteries that will bring back the light when all seems dark.