Day 10

A Hope That Will Not Disappoint

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 5:1-11, Galatians 4:6-7, Ephesians 2:18-22

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1-11, Galatians 4:6-7, Ephesians 2:18-22

Seven years ago I found myself so emotionally, physically, and spiritually debilitated that just getting out of bed in the morning was difficult. I’d never struggled with acute depression before, but after soldiering through the deaths of several of my loved ones and a cancer scare of my own, my get-up-and-go was totally gone. All I wanted was to wave a white flag at life and crawl under the covers, venturing out just long enough to grab another pint of ice cream.

If someone had given me some perky acrostic or suggested I listen to a sermon entitled, “Ten Things Victorious Christians Do to Kick Disappointment and Despair to the Curb,” I’d have kicked them in the shins. Fortunately, Lynn, the Christian counselor I’ve gone to for years, doesn’t prescribe the dangerous meds of “minimizing grief” or “multiplying guilt.” Instead, she was silent as I sobbed, empathetic as I lamented.

Lynn gave me this advice: “Cling to Jesus and do the next right thing.”

She told me to stop trying to tackle the troubles of an entire day, much less a week, month, or year. I was simply to move forward one step at a time. Some days I’d wake to the alarm clock only to be hit with a shock of emotion as I remembered my circumstances. And other days, just whispering the name of our Savior gave me enough grit to pull back the covers and get out of bed.

Day by day, inch by laborious inch, Jesus led me by the hand through that dark valley of life— one step at a time.

I know far too many people who have lost their joy and all but lost their faith in Jesus because endurance was an overlooked muscle group in their Christian vocabulary. And so they’d stop attending Bible study, then church, fading away from their faith community in the midst of their malaise. Some have been wounded by that very same community of believers. Others have simply lost the energy and will to put on a happy face, to pretend their get-up-and-go hasn’t left them too.

Surely our Creator-Redeemer weeps over the gaping holes in the fabric of His covenant family. We weren’t created to be wincing, jaded isolationists. We were created in God’s image, in the image of the triune God who exists in perfect relational harmony with Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit (Genesis 1:26). We’re hardwired for relationship, for communing with others of the faith.

When life leaves us disappointed, disillusioned, and despairing, we need to resist the urge to withdraw from the body of Christ. Instead, we need to move toward other passionate—albeit flawed—Christ-followers to walk with us toward healing. We need to be honest with them, with God, and with ourselves about the true state of our hearts. We need them circling around us, crying out, “Abba Father!” on our behalf, reminding us of the Truth: we are no longer slaves, but daughters of the one true God (Galatians 4:6-7).

Together, we can persevere toward the living hope of the Lord Jesus Christ to whom we’ve been called.

Only God can love us unconditionally. Hoping in Him will never disappoint us the way the world does time and time again. Because “God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit” we can learn to rejoice and hope again, even in our pain (Romans 5:3,5). But it’s only in clinging to Him that we will find the strength to move forward in faith, one step at a time.


Lisa Harper is a master storyteller with a masters of Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary. She’s lauded as an engaging, hilarious communicator as well as an authentic and substantive Bible teacher. She’s been in vocational ministry for 30 years and has written 15 books (her latest being, The Sacrament of Happy: What a Smiling God Brings to a Wounded World) and Bible study curriculums but says her greatest accomplishment by far is that of becoming Missy’s (her adopted daughter from Haiti) mama! They live on a hilly farmette south of Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy eating copious amounts of chips, queso, and guacamole.

Post Comments (132)

132 thoughts on "A Hope That Will Not Disappoint"

  1. Maureen Wilson says:

    Love this! Thank you for sharing Lisa❤️

  2. Jo Miller says:

    This, as it always is with God’s word, is just what I needed today. I’ve been making excuses for not getting more involved with my church community. My husband is military and it’s just so easy to make excuses for not reaching out. But reading today’s passage, and reading everyone’s post of grief, hurt and encouragement and ultimately hope in our Lord and Savior, reminded me why God doesn’t want us to do this life alone. Thank you for all of your posts, thank you for this devotional that I read at the perfect moment, and most of all, i am thankful for our God and His amazing grace that we will never deserve , but He freely and lovingly gives.

  3. Anna Ziel says:

    “We rejoice in our sufferings” — understanding this paradox can change your life

  4. YZ says:

    amen to this!

  5. I needed to read this this morning. It’s like it was meant for me!

  6. Caroline says:

    Needed this today. Reading through others struggles makes mine seem so small, but my hope has been dwindling and reading this made me remember how I felt at the beginning of the season I am in. I was recently laid off from my job, my husband took and new one in a different state and currently we are living with my parents while he trains for his new position, having to buy 2 cars (as we lived in Chicago and did not need one) and I have no job to help support the financial struggles we are facing.
    When I was first laid off I had such peace about it, knowing we may be moving and this was God telling me we were. But now 3 months later my hope has been fading as I apply for jobs and hear nothing back. I am reconfirming my hope and faith in God this morning. I know he has me and my family and whatever path he is leading me down is going to be more than I can imagine.

    1. Steph J says:

      What you said at the end? That is so true. Wherever God leads us is always more than we can imagine. Keep your faith friend. Keep digging into His word and seeking Him in prayer every day, every hour, every breath if needed.

      It is so hard for our sinful selves to muck through this all, but in the end it is so worth it because we can look back and see how the Lord grew us and strengthened us. We can see His hand in it. Reread Romans 5:3-5. It is hard to persevere through trials but at the end, oh the joy! God’s love is poured into us through the Spirit.

    2. Michal Lynn says:

      I’m way behind but I read this today, Caroline, and just want you to know I’m praying for you! Change is hard and I totally know that feeling of total peace that creeps into anxiety and doubt about 3 mths later. It really hit me when Lisa said, “Endurance is an overlooked muscle group in the Christian vocabulary.” Praying for an extra surge of energy and endurance for you this week!

    3. Rick Clausen says:

      Miss Caroline, the bible says stir up the faith that is in you. And I say, you can always trust in the Lord. Believe in his promises. Get a book that references his promises, read then every day. You have every reason to believe Him, he loves you dearly. As a father his child. You are his, he won’t leave you or forsake you. God bless. Ask him for his blessings and mercy.

  7. Sara says:

    Weeping as I read today’s devotional. Thank you for the reminder that it doesn’t just end with the affliction. The next step is endurance. By his strength and love we will endure!

  8. Launi Rogers says:

    This last winter was the darkest feeling I have ever had. Months of rain, care-giving, just dark. And God through His Holy Spirit reminded me to cling to Jesus. What a difference! One step at a time I was able to climb out of the dark pit. And then God brought actual sunshine to all of us! No more rain for awhile! Praise Him.

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