I hear several heart-breaking stories every time I speak at a women’s retreat or conference. I suspect it will happen again this weekend.
Inevitably someone will tell me that her husband either views pornography, has admitted to having an affair, or has left her and their children. Others will speak of loss, perhaps mourning multiple miscarriages while one or two will tell me about their struggles with infertility. Someone will admit to feeling afraid of the unknown future, and another will confess to feeling afraid of facing her painful past—a step that’s often necessary before true inner healing can take place.
You know what’s sad? Every woman who tells me about her hard place represents several others who remain silent about theirs. The painful burdens women (and men) carry often leave me shaking my head. They also remind me of the human spirit’s need for hope.
Where can we find unwavering hope when we’re walking through those hard places? In God’s word. Here’s what the Lord says to those who feel afraid or discouraged:
“But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says: ‘Do not be afraid for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you…Others died that you might live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you” (Isaiah 43:1-5).
What does this passage say?
* Hard places are guaranteed. Scripture says, “When you go through them,” not “If you go through them.”
* Hard places will not be the end of us. They cannot consume us.
* Hard places are where we experience God’s presence. He is always with us, but it’s in the midst of those hard places that we experience the reality of His presence more keenly than when everything’s going well.
We might teeter on the verge of panic when we go through deep waters and great trouble, fight through rivers of difficulty, and walk through the fire of oppression, but the truth is—God is with us. He sees our circumstances and hears our cries. We are not alone—ever. He loves us, honours us, and considers us precious.
In these truths lies hope. Let’s keep our minds focused on them rather than on the lies the enemy wants us to believe, and we truly will experience hope, something every human being needs to survive.
Question: What truth brings you hope in life’s hard places?