5 Hope-Giving Reminders for Those Really Hard Days

By Stacey

The truth is that everyone has those days. Whether you are a Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist living in America, France, or India we all have days we want to give up. We all have days where our three-year-old loses some screw in his brain and spends the entire day screaming at the top of his lungs. We all have felt the deep, hollow, shock of losing a mom, sister, or friend. We all get frustrated with ourselves when we lose it and scream at our kid, spouse, or co-worker. We all have those days when it is just too much, and we do not know if we can go on.

And most people make it through those days. We fall on our beds at the end of the day praying, or meditating, or just crying not sure how we survived. And most of us just hope that tomorrow will be better. We pray that our kids will be better behaved, or trust that statistically it is unlikely that more of our loved ones will die soon, or assume everybody at the office will forget our temper tantrum. But in reality this hope is fleeting. Kids rarely get better on their own, people continue to die, and people in offices never forget anything. These things really are not hope, just temporary fantasies that might get us through another day.

As Christians, I believe that we have something better. Not hope that things will change, that this world will be kinder to us tomorrow, but hope in the God who does impossible things. Specifically here are 5 hope-giving reminders that God gives to Christians for those really dark days:

1. God Knows Pain
Isaiah describes Jesus as “despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). The God of the Christian is not far off and unacquainted with pain and sorrow. Instead, God the Father knows what is it is like to lose a child. Jesus knows what it is like to be forsaken by his father and all his friends. God knows what it is like when his children ignore his instruction and pursue things that will hurt them. He even knows what it is like to have an unfaithful spouse (if you do not believe me, read Hosea). Jesus knows what it is like to be hungry, to suffer physically, to not have a home. And what’s more, he does not just empathize, but he actually takes on our sorrows: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). He takes on the sorrow of cancer, disappointment, sin and abandonment. During days that feel hopeless, remember that, if you are a Christian, God knows your pain. 

2. God is Sovereign
Isaiah 45:6-7 says “I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” God is the one who determines when our loved ones die. He is the one who chooses who gets health and who gets sickness. He is the one who places the compliant children in one family and the difficult child in another. To some, God gives remarkable intellectual abilities while ordaining that others will struggle to get C’s. God is the one who married you to your spouse. Or he is the one who is withholding a spouse from you. He is holding this entire universe together and nothing happens without his permission. So, during those hard days know that it was ordered by the God who is sovereign. Which is even more encouraging when we realize…

3.  Trials Have a Purpose
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” In the mystery of the Lord’s providence, he has made it so that the very affliction that we experience is actually preparing us for a future beyond comparison. He then commands us to fix our eyes on that affliction-prepared-future rather than content ourselves to consider only our suffering. In doing so we come to the realization that the trials through which God leads his people have a purpose which can only be seen by eyes of faith. So during the hopeless days, remember your God is leading you through this sorrow and pain for something that will make it all worth it.

4. Miracles Really do Happen
Matthew 19:26 says “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” God transcends our concept of impossibility and he often does things that we do not expect. For instance: he made this entire world out of nothing. He holds kings hearts like water in his hands. He closed the mouths of the lions who would have otherwise eaten Daniel. He preserved the lives of three men who were thrown into a furnace. He has given innumerable infertile couples children. He took 12 sinful cowardly men and used them to change the world. He healed the bodies of the sick and even the dead. And he is still the same God today. He can bring you joy. You can be made happy again. He can change the heart of your enemies and make them into gentle, warm people. He can change you into the image of his Son. There is nothing impossible with this God. So, during your day of hopelessness, remember you serve a God who does the impossible.

5. And in the Meantime, Let us Think on What is Good
Philippians 4:8 says,Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” There are certainly times to grieve and times when we can do no more than just put one foot in front of the other. And yet, in the midst of hard days, we to find something, anything, that is noble we are to let our minds rest on that. Maybe the trials far outweigh the beautiful snow falling outside but we are to still train our minds to delight in the beautiful things around us. So, in the midst of the hopeless day, let us be thankful and think of what is good.
Everyone in the world has problems, but what separates Christians from the rest of the world is that Christians do not hope in people, in statistics, in money or in a change in circumstances. Instead, Christians hope in a God who is outside of their circumstances, who has all power, all wisdom, and who works on the behalf of those who wait for him. Christians have true hope and everyone’s invited to join in on it.

Author: David M. Hare

Dave is a husband, father of four Africans, and is currently helping the Kwakum people do Oral Bible Storying and Bible translation in Cameroon, Africa.