Thank you for joining us for Reflections, short meditations on scripture intersecting life.
In today’s Reflections we are meditating on Isaiah 61:2-3
To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.
The loss of a loved one is the most devastating loss we can endure. It shakes us as nothing else can. We are left bereft, dealing with a toxic swirl of emotions.
Like many of you, I know grief. I lost my second daughter when she was just 11 days old. God inserted Himself into the midst of my suffering, and walked through that time with my family and me. It was not easy, but as I held on to Him, He held me.
For those of you who know grief as your constant companion right now, I want to give you hope. You will get through this. I hope today’s podcast encourages you in this journey.
I winced as I looked at my six-pack of wilted impatiens. Leftover from my butterfly garden, they had sat under the tree for two weeks waiting for me to find a garden bed to squeeze them into. Originally bursting with color, the now shriveled, drooping blossoms showed little signs of life. I picked them up to toss them into the trash.
“There’s no way they’ll ever recover from this,” I thought. As I opened the trash can, something made me stop. What could it hurt to plant them in the bed out front? It took only minutes to plant the bedraggled plants and water them.
A few hours later I opened the front door to walk out to the mailbox. A flash of pink caught my eye and I stopped astounded. The withered flowers were completely revived, their leaves and blossoms plumped out nicely, the picture of health. I couldn’t believe it. I had been certain they were beyond hope. All they needed was good soil, a thorough watering, and some time to revive.
“It’s the same for people too,” the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart. I mulled that thought over and let its truth sink in.
There was a time in my life when I’ve felt like those flowers. For months after my infant daughter died, I was depleted, devoid of energy, joy … life. I wasn’t sure I would ever recover from the blow of losing her. I barely went through the motions of life. My friends and family stuck by me and kept praying. Several months after she died, I joined a Bible Study Fellowship group and God started slowly putting me back together. Over the course of the next year, I was planted in the fertile soil of my group and watered by God’s word and the testimony and encouragement of wise women. At the end of that year, I had revived.
Maybe you’re there today. Perhaps you think life is over for you. Too much heartache, too many mistakes. Your blooming days are behind you. I’m here to tell you that if you plant yourself in the fertile soil of a healthy church or Christ-based group and water yourself with His word, you will recover. Expose your wounds/sin to the healing light of God’s truth and love and give yourself time to heal and hope.
Get ready to bloom again. God is going to do a mighty work in your life!
i pray: hope
short podcasts to bring the sacred into your everyday
Do you only have a few minutes for prayer today? You’re in the right place! Try one of our new i pray podcasts. A few minutes is all you need to pray God’s word into any situation by interceding for friends, family, and yourself.
Today we’re praying about hope. We all go through seasons of life where hope seems to be in short supply. Perhaps you’re in the middle of a health crisis; maybe your marriage is rocky; the kids have hit their teen years and decided to sow some wild oats; or maybe God feels like a distant relative. Whatever has caused you to lose hope, prayer is a powerful antidote to feelings of hopelessness.
Join Jane VanOsdol of OnlyByPrayer in praying for God to infuse some fresh hope into your situation.
Verse: Lamentations 3:22-24 “Through the Lord’s mercies we’re not consumed because His compassions fail not; they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion says my soul. Therefore I hope in Him.'”
Short and Sweet: Hope, Wait and Pray
” … rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer …”
I like lists. You may already know that about me. I often start my day with a list of things to accomplish … complete with allotted times. It gives me great satisfaction knowing what to do and when to do it. That’s why I like Bible verses like Romans 12:12. It gives me three things to do, it tells me when to do them AND how to do them.
What to do when you’re hoping – rejoice!
Why can we rejoice in hope? Because we worship the God of Hope – therefore we always have hope. No situation is beyond God’s reach.
Are you sick? He’s the healer. Jehovah Raphe
Are you lost? He’s the God who sees you. El Roi
Are you in need? He’s the God who provides. Jehovah Jireh.
Are you neck deep in sin? He’s the God who washes away sin. Jehovah Tsidkenu.
Biblical hope is different than worldly hope. With worldly hope, you hope something will happen. With biblical hope, you have hope because something will happen. Whatever your need, God sees you and He’s at work. He is your hope. So start rejoicing!
What to do when you’re facing tribulation – be patient!
Since we can rejoice because we always have hope, we can also be patient in tribulation. I usually define the word patient as someone who controls their temper and frustration. In Greek, however, the word patient means to tarry, to wait, to remain behind. To wait for what? For God to act. Instead of trying to work a frustrating painful situation according to your will, wait for God to work it according to His perfect will. Everyone wins.
While we’re hoping and waiting for God to move, He gives us a job …
Continue steadfastly in prayer.
Don’t forget – while you have all this hoping and rejoicing and waiting going on, cover it all continually and steadfastly in prayer. The KJV of continuing steadfastly in prayer is “continuing instant in prayer.” I love this definition. Every moment is the right moment to continue in prayer.
No matter what you are doing.
How can you actively rejoice over a current hope you are waiting for?
How can you show God you are waiting for Him to move in a current trial? What can you do to show Him you are waiting for Him and His will? What do you need to stop doing to show Him you are waiting for Him and His will?
Pray! Pray over your hopes, your tribulations, your everything. Pray!
Life is sweet. Hope. Wait. Pray.
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1 Thessalonians A Life of Faith, Part 3: The Gospel
The Bible states God is the God of Hope. He offers His hope to us through the good news of the Gospel. By the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can accept one of the many gifts of the Gospel–hope. “The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11. In the face of hardship, trials and persecution, we please God when we choose to fear Him instead of our circumstances.
Because of the Gospel, we have hope for our trials, our diagnosis, our wounds and our brokenness. To learn about the hope of the Gospel, please click on the link below.