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Holding on to Hope When Help Feels Far Away

Over the past few months, I have been wrestling with some challenges in my health that reached a level of pronounced concern a week and a half ago. Ongoing struggles with fatigue heightened to the place where routine daily tasks left me struggling to catch my breath. Tests revealed a really slow heart rate, coupled with low oxygen in my blood, amidst several other abnormalities.

As symptoms amplified, it led to a number of days in bed, panels of tests, a complete hiatus from my normal fitness routine, and many prayers for healing being lifted by friends and family. As of now, doctors have (happily) ruled out a number of serious illnesses, even as they struggle to pinpoint why this is happening or any plan of treatment to improve my situation.  

Looking broader, I visited one of my dear friends in the hospital a few days ago as he prepared to undergo an emergency heart surgery. I grieved as another beloved brother I’ve been asking God to heal was devastated by recent tests showing his heart function in a severely compromised state. These two men have stood as giants of the faith in my own life. I have personally walked with them, watching the consistency, passion, and integrity in which they trust in God and love others. 

I think about many loved ones who are facing similar health struggles, even as other precious friends struggle to remain strong amidst heart-breaking loss, financial crises, crippling loneliness, debilitating grief, and setback after setback. Each one is adored by God and surrounded by a community of faith who stand, trusting to see “the goodness of God in the land of the living.”

I breathe as I remind my heart once again that if Jesus revealed His highest demonstration of restoring love when we were at our lowest depravity, how much more can we presently be assured that He is lavishing His delight on us right now (see Romans 5:10, 1 John 3:1)? It’s true whether we can sense it or not.

If you’re struggling to hold onto hope, feeling like help is a million miles away, here are 3 powerful encouragements from Hebrews 10, which I invite you to stand on with me:

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:22-24

Hold On to God: Pray Intimately!

Those who love Jesus the most can find themselves guilty of bearing a false burden to “shield God” from the troubles we face. Hiding behind all of the perfect “Christianese” phrases of what we believe a good Christian ‘should’ say, it can be easy to deny the depths of our struggles, our pain, and our doubts. I beg you to see that this is not piety. It is pretending, and it kills true intimacy. 

We are invited to “draw near to God with a sincere heart,” especially in our places of greatest struggle. Drop the mask that hides your true face from your Father. “Cast your cares on Him,” believing that He truly “cares for you.” 

If you’re going though it, you can be most assured your God desires to meet you in it. In that place, you will find God lifting your head, showing you that your heart has been sprinkled clean and your very being washed white as snow. You are a delight to your Father, never a burden. Pause from trying to have all the answers and just approach Him, offering your gaze to the one who will never leave or forsake you. As you do, I pray you will sense His joy in you, beloved! 

Hold On to Hope: Posture Your Heart for Expectancy!

How can we hold “unswervingly” to our hope? First, we can silence our accuser. Satan is the ‘father of lies’ and always speaks to bring accusation and separation. We must be people who “guard our hearts,” knowing “it is the wellspring of life” (See Proverbs 4:23). We need to think about what we’re thinking about and to ask two critical questions: 1) “Can I hear my Father saying this to me?” and 2) “Is it True?” You’d be surprised how many lies fall in the face of that test.

Second, “When faced with all you DON’T know, choose to stand on what you DO!” We join the author of Hebrews in the midst of every unknown declaring that, “God is Faithful!” He is Loving. He is Good. He would never leave you and could never forsake you. There is much that is a mystery that we may not even understand this side of heaven, but we are known and are being held by the Maker of the Stars. I promise, He hasn’t failed you, and He isn’t about to start. 

Hold On to Family: Don’t Walk Alone!

When we’re struggling, a high number of us have the tendency to get quiet and turn internal. That’s why this last one is so important. The enemy of our souls loves isolation. He knows that if he can get us alone, he can bury us in misplaced fear, feelings of failure, guilt, or shame. But God didn’t just come to be your Father;  He came to place you in a Family! In its truest sense, this is what the global Body of Christ is. If you’re struggling, I encourage you to ask the following questions…and then prioritize some needed face to face time with whoever God reveals:

“Who has God placed in my life that loves Him and loves me?” 

“Who will faithfully pray for me if I ask them to?”

“Who sees God in a way I desire to follow?”

“Who is able to build me up and encourage me in the truth, with their words or simply their presence?”

As I continue in these next weeks, uncertain about the specific challenges of my health, I am choosing to “lift my eyes to the hills,” knowing the One from whom my help comes. He has us, friends, and He will not let us down. I’m praying for you, too. May we go in HOPE!

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