“Don’t worry! Think positive! If you just believe everything is going to be okay, it will be.”
That’s the message we sometimes hear from today’s self-help experts. But it’s hard to ignore that the world around us is struggling. Terrorism is expanding its reach, a 17 trillion-dollar debt is causing an economic implosion, Biblical truth is being cast aside for pop psychology, and the political arena suffers from a foreboding absence of godliness and character.
I’m an optimist by nature, but only false prophets say, “Peace, peace when there is no peace.”
Last year, I injured my back and got a herniated disc. As a result, I had to spend an hour or more every day working out and doing physical therapy. Even though I knew I was making progress, there were days when I really struggled to feel hopeful. I even wondered, “Is this ever going to get better?”
It’s easy to lose our perspective when we’re struggling. And all of us have struggled at some point!
For many of us, we are either personally going through something difficult right now, or we know someone who is. For some, this might be a personal setback or a financial difficulty. For others, it could be a physical or health challenge. For others, it’s grappling with unrealized expectations.
In times like these, it’s natural to wonder where is hope to be found?
How can we as ordinary people – with our own disappointments, financial challenges, and relational conflicts – bring real hope and change to a hopeless and hurting world?
The answer: We must look in the REARVIEW mirror to regain perspective.
Here are four ways to can regain perspective:
- Recall some of the biggest challenges you’ve ever faced. Recall some of the challenges in your life that just seemed impossible.
- Remember when it felt like “things would never change.” Remember when you had horrible thoughts like: “This is going to go on forever!”
- Re-envision how God intervened and the good that resulted. What happened? How did God show up? Take time to remember the good.
- Refocus on God’s character and take your focus off present circumstances. Praise Him and thank Him for who He is, acknowledging that He is bigger than your circumstances and the problems of this world. Ask God to fill your soul with hope.
I also have a “go-to” verse to remind myself of the promises of God when pressures and hopelessness overwhelm me.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19, KJV)
Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past empowers me to trust Him for still greater things in the future. So, whatever we’re facing, we can either choose to focus our eyes on our circumstances or on the Lord.
Yes, things are difficult! Yes, our nation, the Church, and the American family are in desperate need of a breakthrough. This is not new. It’s not new in history, or Scripture, or even in America.
But real hope requires ordinary people like us to stop living in fear, to stop complaining about the problems around us, and to realize that our ALL-POWERFUL, FAITHFUL God is waiting to act and “strongly support those whose hearts are fully His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
It’s my prayer that our hearts will be fully His so that we might be people of hope in a world where hope sometimes seems lost.
To learn more about the faithfulness of God, check out the series The Real God.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip