Hope For The Future

heaven

 

No eye has seen, no ear has heard

no mind has conceived

what God has prepared for those who love him.

~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

Is your future uncertain?  Here on earth, yes.  We don’t know what is coming tomorrow, in 6 months, in 5 years.  We can predict, plan, pray, and try to maneuver our lives in a certain direction but ultimately we just don’t know.  How does that feel?  For me, it feels mostly OK, until life throws a curve ball and then I realize that all the planning and preparation for my future may just not apply in the particular situation I am facing.  Stress and worry creep in, and the peace and certainty about my future begins to fizzle out.

It is during those times that I seek my footing again with the one constant I know.  God.  I have spent most of my life getting to know him, his character and his word.   And yet, I still feel there is so much more to know.  It is not because he is a mystery, although there are parts of him that are, but because his character is so solid, so unchanging, so ‘knowable’ that I can’t seem to get enough.  It’s like when you are with someone who you really enjoy–you just want to be with them all the time, because knowing them, and them knowing you, fills you up.

This is the God that has prepared a “certain” place for us in our eternal future.  And the more we know him here on earth, the more we can look forward to our uncountable years together in heaven.  The notes in my Application Study Bible say this about the verse above:

“We cannot imagine what life has in store for us, both in this life and for eternity.  He will create a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah:17, Revelation 21:1), and we will live with him forever.  Until then, his Holy Spirit comforts and guides us.  Knowing the wonderful and eternal future that awaits us gives us hope and courage to press on in this life, to endure hardship, and to avoid giving into temptation.  This world is not all there is.  The best is yet to come.”

Can we begin to believe that each and every day–that the best is yet to come?  It can lessen our discouragement in this earthly life–this is but an appetizer of the feast before us.

Have a blessed week,

Amy

 

 

Day 4: Trusting God During Hard Times

Written By Amy

How is life going?  Hard?  Unpredictable?  Are you in a season where you are living in the valley vs. the mountaintop?  My husband and I would definitely say the last couple years have been harder than we expected.  Jon’s company went into bankruptcy, he took a large pay cut, I went back to work, and we are still trying to figure out if we can stay living in our home on our current salaries.  I keep thinking that things will turn around, but they haven’t yet.  Jon and I check in with each other specifically on our “life future” every few months.  Our situation remains the same.  We predict, we plan, we pray, we hope…

We wait.

Here’s our next verse in Romans:

“Be patient in affliction”  Romans 12: 12

Affliction has been present to humans as long as they have walked the earth.  The Old Testament is one long story of human struggle…and God’s timing in the release.  When we are experiencing trouble, we want the release, we want to take that deep breath and say, “Glad that’s over!” But God’s timing is often not our own.  He has plans for us, but they are often plans for our character, not our logistics.  In waiting on Him, he wants us to sink our roots deep in the soil and hang on….trust.  God wants to unpry our fingers from the controlling grip we wish to have on our destiny, and learn to let him have the control. He wants to teach us patience, long-suffering, hope, contentment regardless of our circumstances.  What if they never change?  Will we be content and find joy in our days?  We can, if we keep our eyes focused on the Lord.  He will give us strength to get up each day and press on, even find peace and happiness….possibly even more than if everything was going according to our plan.

“True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings.  It comes from knowing God is in control.”  Life Application Bible p.2002

                                                                   And the peace of God

                                                           which transcends all understanding,

                                                            will guard our hearts and minds

                                                                           in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

 

 

Above all, God cares about our relationship with him.  In his loving arms we can wait.

 

 

Stirrings : Sunshine After A Flood

 In late July of 2010, I received a phone call that my dad had dropped off the radar while flying his single engine airplane in the North West Territories of Canada.  The amazing Canadian Search and Rescue team worked tirelessly for 5 of the longest days of my life.  Finally, after discovering his whereabouts they declared he had died on impact.  From that first phone call to now I can’t help but get a huge lump in my throat and fight back a stream of tears, a flood of emotion, because in the past 7 months I have been learning to grieve.  

I have had the privilege of watching my mom gracefully grieve the loss of her best friend and husband.  She fell in love with him at the sweet young age of 19 and they built 48 years of memories together.  She has been setting a beautiful example for me on grieving.  There are times when she is weepy and misses her life partner, but she always remembers the good.  She doesn’t wallow in her sadness but she rejoices in the love that they had.  She allows herself to grieve, but she has trained her heart and mind to be thankful and remember all the good times that we had with him.  She tells me that we can be thankful that he did not suffer.  She reflects on how he loved his life!  He was at good place with all of his relationships with his children.  We all knew he loved us and he knew we loved him.  He was healthy and he died doing what he loved.  She does not let me forget that he lived a long, full, and wonderful life and we have so much for which to be thankful.  She graciously grieves and gently leads me down the path of embracing our love for him, while holding on to the good.  There is no place for bitterness. No “why me”, no “it’s not fair”, no, “I can’t survive” or “I won’t make it.”  There is hope in the life we still have and there is thankfulness for his life.  She knows that he would want us to go on and enjoy LIVING our lives.   She gently tilts my head towards the sky in search of the sunshine in the midst of the rain.

I have learned to be thankful and remember the good in grief while still allowing myself to be real.  I have cried and leaned on the strength of family, friends, and mentors.  I have allowed myself the space I needed to grieve.  I also have taken my thoughts captive.  I think about where my mind rests and what I choose for my focus.  My mom has always taught me to see the good in life.  The older I am the more thankful I am for this valuable training on life perspective that she has given me.  I have always been a big fan of scripture memory.  For me it gives me strength and hope.  It helps me to redirect my thoughts with truth.  A bit of wisdom God offers us on the state of our hearts and minds, even when we are flooded with emotions, is in Philippians 4:8.  I have made you two scripture memory cards.  You can print them off.  I suggest you print them on card stock.  You can print one on each side and make a double-sided scripture card.  There is great truth and wisdom in this verse.  Let it soak in.  Write it down.  Meditate on it.    

We would love to hear from you!  I thought of a bunch of questions that I would love for you to answer in our comment section below this post.
Have you ever been in a flood of emotions? 
What has helped you cope? 
From Philippians 4:8 below:
Which of these bolded words stands out to you? Why?  
What do these words mean to you? 
Does the dictionary say anything about these words that strike a chord in you? 
What do you think is noble? 
What do you find compelling or gracious? 
When you think of lovely or excellent things what comes to mind?  

Please take time to practice thinking about the things in these verses.   Mom, thanks for training me to look for the sunshine in life! You have given me a wonderful gift, especially when it rains. I love you!
Happy Friday!  These cards are my gift to you today!

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