We watched the news this morning as picture after picture was shown of the tornado wreckage in multiple states.
The governor of Mississippi was interviewed about how he would manage this dual crisis of the assault of tornadoes that did huge damage to the area and a virus that has shut down society.
“Many people have already lost their jobs and are probably not going to be able to rebuild,” was a quote during the report.
I can imagine the heartache and weight upon people who are now in hotel rooms, unemployed with ruined homes and belongings. And if they or loved ones have dealt with the virus, how terribly hard.
What gives us a new way of seeing
But we have a saying around the faith-based recovery community. It is this:
“Don’t quit five minutes before your miracle.”
Understand that this statement is made to people who often arrive at the recovery community with no more than a trash bag of belongings, if that much. They have often lost everything and everyone. Yes, it is because of the way they have lived, but their hearts are broken no matter who or what is responsible. They are crushed. And multiple physical ailments often also accompany the withdrawal that they are experiencing as they fearfully enter recovery.
This community motto isn’t stated among people who don’t know what loss is.
To recover means…
It remains true that our God is a miracle working God who first of all can help us to recover our hope, and secondly help us, in unforeseen ways, to restore our lives.
You may need hope too right now. As you read on, here are 4 ways to begin to recover your hope in hard times:
1. Recover Your Hope in God’s Presence
There was a time when King David of the Old Testament of the Bible needed hope. He returned to the city where he and his men lived after they had been out for a military action. Upon arriving home, they found their homes destroyed and their families captured.
This is how the Bible depicts the events:
“When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep…David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:3-4, 60)
Some translations say that “David encouraged himself in the Lord.”
When we are utterly crushed…
When we feel utterly devastated by events, it is the time to just sit with God and tell him, cry, and be real. It is also the time to play worship music or to read soul-healing Bible verses.
On Easter, like so many, I felt the weight, the sadness of not being with others, worshipping in great celebration. But it was in worshipping online, listening to and singing songs, that my spirits began to rise – as I felt God’s ministry to me.
Encounter turns loss into joy
I particularly felt uplifted in hearing the song, “I’ve Just Seen Jesus.” What a beautiful song sung from the perspective of Mary Magdalene who, in profound grief, had been at Jesus’ empty tomb. But the joy and power of her encounter with Jesus, the “everything has changed because I have seen the risen Jesus” message of the song, made my heart soar.
“I don’t know how to feel His presence,” some might say. Maybe the world of faith is foreign or new to some readers. When your heart is strangely warmed by a song, by a verse, by flowering spring trees outside, by the kindness of others – believe me, that has Him in it. Hold onto it and nurture those experiences and feelings. More understanding will come!
2. Recover Your Hope with God’s Help
So many people love the current very popular Christian song, Way Maker. Here are some of the lyrics:
“You are here, moving in our midst,
I worship you, I worship you,
You are here, working in this place,
I worship you, I worship you…
Light in the darkness
That is who you are…”
(Songwriter: Osinachi Okoro, lyrics © Tunecore Inc)
The song so wonderfully captures the biblical concept that God can create a way where there is no way. “He is moving in our midst…working in this place.”
God can do the impossible
Even when our situation, our circumstances look utterly hopeless, God is able to overcome and do the impossible. We just need to cling to the belief that this is true. He is a way maker. He can bring us through, bring people and resources to us that we never saw coming.
“What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
Work hard to remember how you got through difficulties in the past and believe it can happen again. You may or may not be able to attribute that to God yet. But even remembering “coming through” is important in recovering your hope.
What can you learn…
In the meantime, look for lessons you can learn. Allow patience and gratitude for what you DO have to fill you. All through history, people have emerged from times of great trial with greater faith, greater strength, and new or renewed purpose. God wants that for you too.
“For you know, that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4)
3. Recover Your Hope with God’s Word
Here are 10 Bible verses about hope:
1. “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” Psalm 119:114
2. “For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.” Psalm 9:18
3. “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18
4. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
5. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
6. “‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.'” Lamentations 3:24
7. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
8. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“9. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
10. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
There are so many verses that promise help, saving, and the supernatural strength and faithfulness of God to invade your hard times. Read them, pray them, hold them tight.
4. Recover Your Hope Through Community
It is so important to do two things when you’re suffering and feeling tempted towards losing hope:
Let other people help you!
Help others as you can – maybe you can only afford a smile or a kind word at this point. But helping others also lifts us up and rejuvenates us.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another. So important in stirring the embers of hope – letting people be kind to us and being kind back.
If you are really struggling with your emotions and mental health in this time, SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a hotline to call, 1-800-662-HELP (4357)