Hope. President Obama ran his campaign on it, and many look to the world’s leaders to restore hope in the world.
In the midst of the most challenging of times, however, the power to summon hope may seem elusive. No matter where we turn, it’s sometimes difficult to stay positive, while maintaining our sights on the way forward.
But whether we feel powerless to change society or even our own personal trials, summoning hope is a process we can start to develop today. How can we maintain hope in the midst of trials? These steps can help:
1. Read The Word (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). No matter what’s said about it, the Bible is still the definitive source for wisdom and truth. Start each day immersed in it. During the times you’re feeling good, try a little exercise: identify scriptures which address specific needs and have the power to uplift you. When you’ve identified your favorite scriptures, write them down; repeat them out loud during your “blue” times If you’re hung up on the old-world language, try a modern translation, like The New King James Version. Playing and singing uplifting, Bible-based music helps too.
2. Identify the source (2 Timothy 1:7). When feelings of despair come over you, remember: that’s not God’s will for you. He has not given us the spirit of fear, worry, or anxiety: these are devices of satan that we want to detach from.
3. Meditate (Mark 4:39). When images of your fears come to mind, God gives you the power to drive them out. Instead, create a mental picture of a positive scenario or outcome. Isaiah 26:3 says, “ You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you”. Rest, dwell and meditate in that environment until you feel a change physically. Have faith and patience to wait for God’s perfect timing. If we don’t wait for His will, His word, or His power to manifest within us, we’ll never know how strong our faith can be (Psalm 27:14).
4. Pray (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). If you’re not sure of how to respond to a situation that has you feeling down, just ask God what He wants you to do. Ask Him to reveal His will and purpose for you. Our bodies, minds and souls thrive and grow by dwelling in God’s word and Praising Him through prayer. Pray out loud, pray repetitively, and also pray for our leaders and our nation. Pray until something happens!
5. “Press on” (Philippians 3:14). Take a short, brisk walk in a beautiful place. When you’re back, push yourself to do a good deed for someone else, or an activity connected to manifesting God’s purpose for your life. This is active faith, not passive. Set aside time to immerse yourself in positive activity, and work with determination and fervor! Persevering toward purpose empowers us, and the process uplifts us to heavenly places.
6. Keep a Journal (Jeremiah 30:2). Writers and artists have employed this technique for centuries to retain thoughts and ideas they can go back to. We can create a dedicated journal as a tool to uplift us when feeling down. Add to it the favorite scriptures and prayers identified in #1 and #4. Maybe there’s a song that brings you to your feet when you hear it; write down the title and the lyrics, and keep a recording of the song accessible. Maybe there’s a color you absolutely love, a picture with loved ones in happy times; an image of a beautiful sunrise or rainbow. Add them all; make it as visual a diary as possible to give you a new picture which represents God’s goodness. And if you can’t find a journal in a color that uplifts you, recover an existing one with colorful fabric or paper. Always remember to record the things that brought you joy in Him.
7. Fast (Isaiah 58:6) – and drink lots of water. When down or worried, we may tend to overeat. But doing so – especially sugary treats – can clog and dull our senses, and can keep the power of God from flowing through us. Fasting brings us God’s solutions; drinking water keeps our systems flushed.
8. Share your testimony (Psalm 105). Know that our trials are not ours, but are for the benefit of helping someone else get through theirs. Repeating your testimony out loud also resonates in your spirit; reminds us of how God works and triumphs in our lives. Find an “accountability partner”; someone you can trust to share your “rough spots” with, who will keep their eyes on God, even when you feel you can’t. But do remember to jot down a short version of your testimony in your journal. Seeing what you’ve endured can help you pull through future trials.
Our challenging times have been foretold in the Bible, but as difficult as it may be to believe, we are heading for a new day and time of righteousness. Remember the power of The Resurrection, and that our Savior has endured the worst of trials. This reminds us that just when we thought it might be “the end”, God has the power to revive what was lost: even hope. As Jesus did with the apostles while navigating the rough seas, He can pull us through any circumstance too.
If you have a method or scripture which gets you through the rough times, please share your testimony with others below.