finding hope again

Still processing. Still confused. Still devastated. Still angry. Still sad.

and

Still trusting. Still hoping. Still praying. Still loving. Still believing. Still going. Words from our worship pastor, John Cassetto. Yes, I feel those things too.

I’ve been at a loss of words. What do I say? How do I pray? I am not good with words. Thankfully, I remember Romans 8:26… “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (NIV)

Praying for the families who lost loved ones. Praying for the recovery of the 500+ wounded. Praying for change.

So much going on in our nation right now. The fires. The hurricanes. The violence. Las Vegas. Puerto Rico. Houston. Florida. Mexico. So much pain and brokenness and darkness. We are in some serious need of HOPE. The weekend of September 9th, Kay Warren delivered a powerful message about finding hope after a traumatic event, a strained relationship, serious health problems, crushing disappointment, unchangeable circumstances, or a painful loss.

Through all the storms we experience (some quite literal) Kay helps us understand that we can find hope through resilience (definition: able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Strong, tough, hard, buoyant, irrepressible, flexible, pliable, supple, durable. Able to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad happens.) Resilient people survive and thrive in the face of trauma. Resilience can be learned.

There’s this illusion that life is easy. Wrong. Life is harder than you’ve ever expected and Jesus said, “In this word we will have trouble” (John 16:33). The first way to build resilience is to accept that life is tough. But God gives us resources to cope with life. He gives us a guide, a mentor, a savior. We are not alone. He gives us a new mind and a new heart when we accept Jesus as our savior. He’s given us his word as a road map. We can’t control the hard, we wont be held captive by what has happened to us, and we get to choose how we respond in hard times. Here are seven practical choices Kay mentions that can help build resilience:

  • Expand your connections when hope starts to fade. Don’t pull back! Press in to community/relationships.
    • “A friend is always a friend, and relatives are born to share our troubles.” Proverbs 17:17 (CEV)
  • Believe you’re capable in God’s strength of handling anything.
    • “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.
  • Avoid expecting the worst.
    • “Lord, when doubt fills my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19.
  • Practice self-care. Take care of yourself in the middle of hard times. Eat well. Rest. Exercise.
    • “You let me rest in fields of green grass, You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and You refresh my life.” (CEV)
  • Seek self discovery. In the middle of the mess there are learning moments. Trouble has the benefit of exposing the gaps in our faith.
    • “We can also learn from insults and hard knocks.” Lamentations 3:30 (CEV)
  • Practice gratitude. Be grateful for the beauty still in this world even though beauty has been taken from us.
    • “Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just you were taught. And be grateful.” Colossians 2:7 (CEV).
  • Decide today that nothing can destroy you. No matter what comes our way, we will grieve, mourn, and be devastated by the losses but we will not let them destroy us.
    • “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 (NIV)

Kay stresses that we are more than conquerors. When we take the pain, the loss, the suffering, the beauty that was stolen from us, the trauma… When we take what is meant to kill us, and learn from it and use it as the stepping stones to grow more like Jesus we become more than a conqueror. Because of the beautiful scars of Jesus, we are still here. We are still standing.

And one day…

“He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. All of that has gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 (TLB).

Watch [this] beautiful message by Kay Warren from Saddleback Church. Be encouraged as you learn what the Bible says about God’s purpose for your life including your work, relationships, health, and more.

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