Ten Words part 1
2020 has been frustrating, depressing, frightening, uncertain for many. The world seems to be lurching from one crisis into another. Apart from the global pandemic, there’s economic insecurity, political and social confusion and uncertainty about the future.
Some people have had to contend with personal trauma. The loss of connection with family and friends to more permanent losses in tragic circumstances.
What does it mean to survive hard times and does the bible have anything to help us in times like these?
Rob came up with 10 words to help us through the struggle. In this series we are going to look at two of the words each week.
Surviving hard times
We know that Jesus never promised life would be easy – actually he said, ‘In this world you will have trouble.’ (Jn 16:33). He never said it would be easier for his followers – he said we would have to take up our cross to follow him (Mt 16:24). He also said that the advance of the kingdom would be ‘forceful’ (Matt 11:12) driven by ‘forceful men’ and women (Luke 16:16) – which doesn’t sound especially easy either.
He also said that he would ‘never leave us’ (Heb 13:5) and that nothing could ever separate us from his love or relationship with us… Paul even has a list which he seems to have tried out in his life. (Rom 8:35-39)
Each of us are in the world, living, working and raising our families at a time like this because God knew what was going to happen and we are part of the solution. Which means that we can expect not only survive but to thrive and even have bread left over from this experience we can share with others.
Let’s look at the first two of Rob’s 10 words to help us survive hard times:
Feeling out of control is one of the key reasons for anxiety, but there will always be some things that we can’t control, other people, what happens to me, the world around me. We can always choose to control how we respond to the world around us, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
• 2 Tim 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline/control
We control what we can control but what do we do with everything else? Peter tells us:
• 1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast (throw it at him!) all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Speaking out loud to yourself is a great way to confirm and affirm the truth.
Declare out loud:
I am in control – I am not out of control. I control what I can control, and I give the rest to God who is control. Holy Spirit come and fill me and be the governor of who I am on the inside!
For some the overwhelming feeling at the moment is one of hopelessness. The bible tells us that we have a hope, a hope that doesn’t disappoint (Rom 5:5). Consequently, you cannot be hopeless. Your life is not hopeless. Our circumstances are never hopeless because of this hope.
Cultivate hope continually. Hope for better days to come, hope for the future, hope for what comes next. Maintain a calendar of hope which contains things you can look forward to in the future. Make plans anyway even if they have to be changed. Cultivate hope in your heart. Make space for it in your life.
God is still in charge. He will be faithful and so we can have ‘hope’ every day – surviving hard times depends on it. Do you have hope? Have you cultivated hope in your heart?
Declare out loud:
I will hope in the Lord who is my help and in whom I choose to trust. The God who I see in creation lives and so today will be a good day and tomorrow will be even better!