Day10

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.

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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 (140)

140 thoughts on "A Hope That Will Not Disappoint"

  1. Andrea Martin says:

    Having recently and continuing to walk through a season of anxiety and depression, this was so timely.

  2. Karissa Connelly says:

    Thanks for sharing. Just commenting to say that you’re not alone.

  3. Gemma Bywater says:

    I needed to read this today. It was yet another Sunday of staying home from church while my husband went after a long night of not much sleep and getting up to take care of the babies. I just didn’t have it in me to try and put on a happy face and show up to church and make small talk and “fellowship” only to leave feeling totally lonely and drained. I’ve been battling depression and anxiety for the past two and a half years and while this has been going on I’ve been newly married and have had two kids. Our old church fell apart and we’ve been trying to find a new one and it’s been very difficult during this hard new season and I feel so isolated and exhausted I just hardly have the energy to be in relationship with others even though I really need it. I feel like I’m completely changed as a person, and not in a good way. I am shocked at how hard being a mom is, and wonder when depression is going to stop casting a dark shadow over all of the many blessings in my life. It’s not that I don’t recognize them and am not grateful for them. But when will I be able to enjoy the life God has given me? I’m still trying to figure out how to rejoice in suffering. I’ve been trying to endure for so long. I’ve sought out counseling, medication, opened up to people about what I’m going through but it’s been a very long season.

  4. Gemma Bywater says:

    I needed to read this today. It was yet another Sunday of staying home from church while my husband went after a long night of not much sleep and getting up to take care of the babies. I just didn’t have it in me to try and put on a happy face and show up to church and make small talk and “fellowship” only to leave feeling totally lonely and drained. I’ve been battling depression and anxiety for the past two and a half years and while this has been going on I’ve been newly married and have had two kids. Our old church fell apart and we’ve been trying to find a new one and it’s been very difficult during this hard new season and I feel so isolated and exhausted I just hardly have the energy to be in relationship with others even though I really need it. I feel like I’m completely changed as a person, and not in a good way. I am shocked at how hard being a mom is, and wonder when depression is going to stop casting a dark shadow over all of the many blessings in my life. It’s not that I don’t recognize them and amWhen will I be able to enjoy it? Still trying to figure out how to rejoice in suffering. Been trying to endure for so long. I’ve sought out counseling, medication, opened up to people about what I’m going through but it’s been a very long season

  5. M. Heathman says:

    Th a new you Lisa for being honest and real with us about your depression. Getting past the loss of loved ones is hard. I would say #1 I had to look at it with an eternal perspective when my husband of 37 years
    died suddenly just when we were beginning to get on the same page serving God, visiting the elderly and talking about spiritual matters. I praised God for what I felt like He might have saved him from and for his great faith that had come about just 2 years or so after he gave his life to Christ and what a difference everyone saw in him.

  6. Kelsey De Ruyter says:

    So gooddddd

  7. Heidi V says:

    It took me a long time to learn that rejoicing during suffering does not mean to be grateful for the suffering itself but instead to remember and rejoice in the fact that we have access to the peace that Jesus offers us despite our circumstances.

  8. Steph C says:

    “Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (5:7-8). There was nothing attractive about me to recommend me to God. He didn’t look at me and say, “wow, she’s 90% there!” No, I was a sinner. Hostile to God. Running from Him and His enemy. He knew me completely. No tricks or disguises could cover me before Him. And yet He loved me. And died for me. Knowing all the ways I would rebel and resist. He chose to love and redeem me. What wondrous love is this!

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