On the front cover of the book The Choice, is a tiny yellow flower in the snow, with Auschwitz in the background. The subtitle reads: “Even in hell, hope can flower.”
This is the story of Edith Edger, a holocaust survivor. The amazing part of her story is that only one part out of four in her book is spent on her time in the concentration camp as a sixteen-year-old prisoner. The rest is spent on her escape, freedom and healing. And what a journey it must've been. This made me think of the amount of time we spend thinking about our difficult times and how little time we spend thinking about hope.
On this earth, even as Christians, suffering/difficult times are guaranteed.
We read in 1 Peter 2:21: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” (NIV)
James (Jesus’ brother) goes as far as to say, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 (NIV)
Pure joy? Who here likes to suffer? Who here finds themselves joyous when they face trials? Nope – not me; it's difficult and uncomfortable and often I have no choice in the matter.
I believe our human nature is made for fight or flight, to survive, but when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, our sinful nature/human nature gets reborn to look more like Jesus.
1 Peter 4:1 (NIV) says: “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”
It's this truth that causes me to believe that because of Jesus, we get to look at things differently. This new nature practises kindness, generosity and forgiveness; this new nature turns the other cheek and keeps its mind on things above, and even counts it joy when we suffer or face trials.
Dear friends, not for one moment am I wanting to discredit the suffering you might've endured, whether injustices done to you as a child or an adult woman, rejection by a parent or losing a parent too soon, a womb that is struggling to conceive or burying a child, losing your main source of income because of this pandemic or daily struggling under the debilitating effects of mental or physical illness.
I believe we get to continue to stand and live with hope because of Jesus' victory. Yes, there was suffering, but Jesus rose again and is seated at the right hand of God. Death cannot touch us. Suffering and difficult times cannot have the final say when we have our hope in Jesus.
Hebrews 10:23 says: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” (NLT)
Let's not continue to give the enemy a foothold in our lives by holding onto unforgiveness or anger, seeking revenge, self-sabotage or asking, “Why me?”
We may not have a choice in the trials we face, but we definitely can choose how to respond to them. We can choose for these trials to make us more like Jesus.
Romans 5:3-4 (NIV) says: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Let's feel what we need to feel – feelings are only temporary – but let's accept the freedom Jesus offers us because of His suffering on the cross and because He alone has the final say. Hope in Jesus will not put us to shame.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (NIV)
We get to choose not to lose heart.
We get to choose to keep our eyes fixed on the truth in the Bible and on eternity.
Romans 15:13 (NIV) says: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Let's choose to consider it joy when we face trials.
Let’s choose to overflow with hope and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Women of Reverence welcomes Yolande Vincent as a guest blogger.
Yolandé Vincent, married to Michael for 8 years and part of the Eldership team at Venture Church. Work as a hairdresser and make-up artist, Christian counsellor and loves to help people transform into all Jesus has for them. I like chocolate and exercise because balance is key ;)