Recently, my wife, Helene, returned from shopping with a story we can all relate to—whichever side of the fence we’re on.
She was waiting in line to pay, behind an older gentleman. The cashier told the man to pull his mask up, apparently for a second time. He complained he has trouble because he wears glasses. I get that!
The cashier pointed out she was wearing glasses too. The man just grumbled more. As he left, the cashier said to him, “Have a good day!” The older gent just grumbled more saying, “I haven’t had a good day in a long time, the time of good days is long past.”
What a sorry lament, but one many feel after two long years of COVID and restrictions. After he left, the worker just shook herself and said she was sick and tired of grumpy customers. Helene responded to her and said the following:
- Don’t let grumpy people bother you, we’ve still got lots of things to be thankful for!
- There are those who are thankful you do a good job.
- We will get through this!
The cashier responded heartily with, “YES—WE—WILL!” She brightened up and thanked Helene and said, “You have an awesome weekend!”
This woman appreciated the encouragement and reminder we will get through this. It gave her hope. Whether COVID-related or any problem we have in life, we need hope that we’ll get through.
If you have hope you will:
- Have staying power.
- Resist the temptation to quit.
- Continue to search for a strategy to get through your problem.
- Survive and thrive!
However, the absence of hope can lead to emotional surrender and a slow death emotionally.
Recently Bell Canada had its yearly ‘Let’s Talk’ promotion encouraging open discussion about mental health. We’re all aware of the increase in opioid deaths. Many are experiencing depression and we Christians aren’t immune. Christian leaders are struggling too, and many are leaving ministry altogether. Hopelessness has made a home in our society.
We need to go back to God’s Word which says, “There is Hope!” Consider Romans 5:3-5 (NLT):
3“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
4And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
5And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
Verse three is one of those ‘fun’ verses that tell us we can ‘rejoice’ in our problems, trials, and tribulations. I’m not very good at rejoicing when I have problems. I feel them. I can get stressed out and even lose sleep over them. But I pray about them too!
The question before us then is, “How can we rejoice in our problems?” We can if we have hope for a positive outcome! That’s the key! Hope is the key! However, if we can’t see a positive outcome:
- We will be empty of hope.
- We will feel it’s going to end badly.
- We may feel trapped in our situation. Stuck in a mire of emotional stress.
- We may wish to just walk away, quit, and end it. People walk away from jobs, ministries, marriages, all because they don’t see a way out of their stress.
Hope sees light at the end of the tunnel and knows it’s not the next train coming your way! Romans 5:3-5 illustrates that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It progresses from our troubles and suffering, moves onward until finally saying our hope will not be disappointed—because we know God’s transcending love!
There is something profoundly simple about God’s message of hope in Romans. It’s profound if we ask one simple question. The question is, “Why?” Why did the Lord tell us this? The answer is simple too. The Lord told us this because He knew there would be times when we would not have hope! He knew there would be times when we would question:
- Will it work?
- Will everything turn out alright?
- Will it ever end?
- Will God come through for me? Remember you are not so unique that God expects you to struggle on your own. You need Him. And you need others too!
- Will God come through for me, or am I too sinful or have I failed too often?
The Lord knew there would be times we’d wonder, “Do I have eternal life or does this problem have eternal life?” Have hope! No trial enjoys eternal life!
God knew we would have times when we would not feel hope. Therefore, He told us, He told you and He told me . . . “if you put your hope in him you will not be disappointed!” He knew there would be times we’d need to remember this! Take hope in God!
God knows there will be times when:
- You are sick, so He said He’d heal you.
- You’d feel all alone, so He said He’d never leave you.
- You’d feel unloved or rejected, but remember, nothing will separate you from His love.
- You’d feel great anxiety, but He extends His supernatural peace for you.
- You’d feel things are so messed up, but He said, “all things work together for good . . .”
- You’d feel so broken, but He is near the broken-hearted” (Psalm 34:18).
- You’d feel overwhelming sadness, but He said He would turn your mourning into dancing!
- You’d feel you’ve blown it and sinned too much, but He said:
- He loves you…always.
- He will forgive you…again.
- He will help you overcome this…too.
The Lord knew you’d have those times when it felt hopeless. Anticipating those times, He gave exceeding great and precious promises for you to take hope in! You will get through this, so take hope!
Peter Barbour lives in Aylmer, Ontario, Canada. He and his wife Helene, have pastored the Aylmer Full Gospel Church since 1981, and prior to that, planted a church in Simcoe, Ontario. He is an ordained member of the Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada.
He has two married, adult children—who are wonderful, and seven amazing grandchildren.
He enjoys family, reading, walking, and travelling.