Hope in Christ gives us confidence during difficult times

I know that many of you have faced difficult situations, and some of you are going through them right now.

It may be uncertainty at work: is my position going to be phased out? Should I make a career change?

It might be one of your children you’re worried about: life and relationship choices, immaturity, worldliness.

Sometimes it’s health problems, either your own or someone close to you.

Or it’s some other dilemma in which the uncertainty is killing you.

I think it’s normal to be concerned, to struggle at times with the uncertainty of the future.

But I also think Christians have something to cling to that can give us a sense of calm in any situation.

Paul was in prison multiple times, but I’m always amazed at how confident he was in the future.

He wrote these words from a Roman jail:

Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:18b-20).

He thought that he would probably be released soon.

But there’s more to it than that—notice his rock-solid confidence:

“I know.”

“This will turn out for my deliverance.”

“I will not at all be ashamed.”

“With full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body.”

I picture Paul kicked back in his jail cell without an ounce of worry about his future, thinking something like this: I think I’m going to be released, but I’m not terribly concerned. Whatever happens happens, and whatever happens will bring glory to Jesus. . . . So I’m okay with it.

Wow.

What an incredible perspective.

And there’s something important there for us.

I was amazed at and encouraged by the spirit of a young Christian mom whom I’ve never met, but who passed away yesterday with cancer. Like several of you, I followed her story online as she fought the disease for the last 20 months.

She desperately wanted to live . . . to be a mom to her 2 sons and a wife to her husband.

But through it all she was fully confident that God would do what was best, even if she didn’t understand why he didn’t answer her prayers the way she wanted him to.

She trusted that whatever happened would turn out to God’s glory and for her and her family’s best. She never wavered from that.

I was praying for her family yesterday morning, and I asked God why he chose to let her die.

He didn’t answer me, but just asking it helped remind me that we Christians have a different take on things.

The cancer might take a body, but it can’t touch the one God’s preparing for us.

The economy might make your industry unsustainable, but job loss isn’t an obstacle God can’t help you work through.

You may have no clue what God wants you to do with the big decision that’s in your lap, but it might be that he will be glorified with either choice you make.

God isn’t limited to things working out the way we mapped them when we were 18 or 19.

He’s got a billion ways to use you and me to his glory, so perhaps we shouldn’t let stuff get to us so much.

Eternity is what really matters, and God’s set the day when he’ll bring us home.

Focusing on that big picture will help us face our troubles down here more confidently.

2 thoughts on “Hope in Christ gives us confidence during difficult times”

  1. This is very good. I think I’d like to use it Sunday as part of some devotional thoughts I’m assembling for a small group. Thanks, Chuck for taking the time to put your mind, heart and spirit on paper.

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