Suffering…With Hope

You’re suffering, sorrowful, struggling to go on. Maybe you’re depressed, feeling like you’re in a rut, wondering what you have to live for. Or maybe it’s something even darker.  A
death in the family, or being abandoned by someone you love. Whatever the struggle, we all have seasons in which we feel that we have lost all sense of hope and joy. We can easily become frustrated, angry, or depressed. What are we to do in these times? What does the Bible say about this?

We never want to sugar-coat the fact that times are tough. God has created us to feel negative emotions as well as positive. We are meant to feel sad when we are experiencing suffering. We are supposed to mourn and cry. However, we were never meant to lose hope. These situations are intended to bring us to a place where all that we can do is rely on God for His strength and comfort. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 teaches us that we are to mourn, but not as those who have no hope. Believers have such a great hope because of the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the Cross, and this is not to be forgotten. We know that those who have trusted Christ as their Lord and Savior will inherit eternal life in a perfect heaven with a perfect God forever. We know that heaven is a perfect place where there will no longer be any death, pain, sorrow, or despair. And we also know this: we are not there yet.

C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” God often uses suffering to get our attention. When we experience times of suffering, we are reminded that we are not home yet. We live in a very imperfect world with very imperfect people in very imperfect circumstances. But thanks be to God, who made a way for us to enjoy perfect, painless, joyful fellowship forever with Him one day! Suffering can remind us
of this. Romans 8:22-25 says: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”.

It’s okay to mourn and grieve. We were created with the capacity to feel sorrow and pain. But God never leaves us without hope. Suffering serves as a reminder that we are foreigners on this earth, but that soon we will be home with our loving Father in perfect
paradise. THIS is the hope we can cling to!

Bethany Dunn
Bethany heard about Vision of Hope while attending Word of Life Bible Institute in Florida. When she began praying about what God wanted her to do after graduating, He kept bringing Vision of Hope to her mind. Knowing that there was an internship available, Bethany applied, was accepted, and began her internship with VOH in July, 2012. Since then she has been amazed at the opportunities God has given her to learn more about His Word and how it applies to everyday life. Bethany now serves on staff at Vision of Hope.