Hope Rejoices in Trials

girlwithbrokenarm

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed.   1 Peter 1:6-7

Can we find a joy in knowing there is a purpose to our trials? Is there a hope in knowing God has a greater goal in allowing these trials into our lives? Does a peace come in the midst of the refining fire of life’s challenges?

There are two phrases of this scripture that can give us a better perspective for facing trials:

“Now for a little while”- The translation literally means “now for just a few minutes.” Elsewhere in scripture (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8), we learn that “a thousand years are like a day” in God’s sight. If we work the math on that (which would be easier done on a white board), and say that 1,000 years in our time is like 24 hours to God, then we can work back and say 500 years to us is like 12 hours to God, and 250 years is like 6 hours, etc.  If we live an average of about 80 years, then we will only live about 1.9 hours in God’s eternal perspective. 1.9 hours. Then if we estimate how long a season of trial may be, we can see the perspective of “now for just a few minutes.” Even our greatest difficulties last just “a little while” in light of the eternal time we will spend worshipping God in heaven- free from all pain and suffering.  Seasons of struggle can seem endless, but in light of eternity, their time is short. We can hold on through the hard, knowing the hard lasts only a little while.

“Praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed”- I see two meanings for the end of this passage. First, we can rejoice in knowing that in the end, when Jesus is fully revealed and reclaims His Kingdom reign here on earth, we will overflow with praise, glory, and honor that will overshadow all of this life’s temporary sufferings.  Paul writes, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) When the glory of Jesus Christ is fully revealed, we can be assured our sufferings will pale in light of Him.

A second meaning for this passage that I see is the revealing of Christ that happens not only in the future, but in our present circumstance. The word “revealed” here literally means “to be laid bare, to uncover, to lay open what has been veiled or covered up.”  In the midst of great trial, Christ can seem hidden. We can struggle to find Him in the hard. But if we hold on, He is faithful to unveil Himself to us, and bring in peace and joy. His light can penetrate even our darkest moments, and the revelation that He is with us restores hope. His presence can bring us to a place of praise, glory and honor even as we “suffer grief in all kinds of trial.”

My soul will boast in the LORD, let the afflicted hear and rejoice. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:2, 18

We can rejoice in our afflictions because of God’s nearness. He does not leave us to suffer on our own, but rushes in close with His great strength and comfort. I can look back on my most challenging seasons as a parent, and can testify that those were the times when God was closest. He was there growing my faith, leading my steps, working in my life as He worked in my child’s life as well. And for that awareness of Him, and the work that He did deep in my soul, I would not trade those times. He really can bring us to a place of rejoicing, a place of thanking Him for the trials.

Let me hear joy and gladness, let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Psalm 51:8

Bones that are broken heal up stronger than they were before. So too are our hearts made stronger by God’s healing hands when we have been through grief, disappointment, loss and hurt. Our faith is refined, our peace is restored, and our hope is renewed.

Hope Trusts

rockclimber

To trust is to transfer confidence from myself to someone or something else. Trust begins with a belief that the someone or something else is worthy of being trusted. Hope begins with a trust that the anchor it holds on to will hold.  When we place our hope in the Lord, we trust that He will hold faithful and strong.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance, despite all its great strength, it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD, He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.  Psalm 33:17-22

When our hope is in the Lord, we have His unfailing love, His deliverance from death, His provision in famine, His help, and His protection to hold on to. Ultimately we have His holy name. If we can even just taste His faithfulness in all these things, we can begin to transfer our confidence fully to Him. He has held firm and secure from generation to generation. He is worthy of our trust.

Guard my life and rescue me, let me not be put to shame for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.   Psalm 25:21

The world around us offers many things to put our hope in. We can hope in our health, our money, our jobs, our perfect children or our popularity. While these all may hold for a while, we know they can fail in an instant.  If we have transferred our confidence to one of these, we are left hopeless when they are gone.

The greater risk to me has been the temptation to place confidence in myself, to trust that I can take care of myself and meet all the needs of my family with my own intellect and strength.

Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD… But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.  Jeremiah 17:5-8

Thankfully, The Lord has provided times of extreme heat and severe drought to bring me to the end of myself and transfer my confidence to Him.  Certainly the challenges of diagnosing, accepting and beginning to move forward with a child with special needs have served to break me of me- and have forced me to cry out for God’s help. And He has been faithful.

We can trust God because God is trustworthy. When our souls place our hope in Him, and our confidence is in Him, we find peace and security like the “tree planted by water.” We are provided for. We are protected.

Where are you placing your trust? Is it on someone or something that will eventually fail? Maybe you’re experiencing or have experienced the hopelessness of a hold that has broken for you.  Can you place your trust on the Someone who has held and will hold for all of eternity?

Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.  Isaiah 49:23

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame

But wholly lean on Jesus name

When darkness veils His lovely face

I rest on His unchanging grace

In every high and stormy gale

My anchor holds within the veil

His oath, His covenant His blood

Support me in the whelming flood

When all around my soul gives way

He then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand

All other ground is sinking sand.

Special Hope

MotheronDock

Maybe you knew before your child was born. Maybe you knew in the early months when development seemed delayed. Maybe it wasn’t until your child came into puberty that the difference became clear. Nevertheless, you discovered your child was different. And whether that difference is mild or severe, we as mothers of “different” children face unique challenges on our parenting journey.

I have learned from sharing with other mothers of children with special needs, and from my own parenting experience, that though each child’s diagnosis may be very different, our challenges are very similar. We all face grief and disappointment, isolation and fear, discouragement and uncertainty. We have all had those moments of complete despair, crying out face down, begging for God’s salvation. We have all felt the loneliness and exhaustion that can settle in at the end of a hard day.

For those of us who know Christ as our Savior and Lord, we have also experienced God’s faithful hand holding true through those desperate moments. The Comforter has come near with His presence and power. We have glimpsed His glory in moments of peace and love, victory and joy. In spite of all the hard, God has been good.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19

Sailors cast out anchors to hold their boats secure through storms. So too must we learn to cast out an anchor to hold firm and secure through the storms we face.  Hope is that anchor.  Hope is faith in knowing the storm will pass, an expectation that God will bring us through.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

God’s Word is rich in encouragement for mothers of a child (or children) with special needs. This simple verse gives a theme for our lives on this journey. May we find the joy in holding on to hope.  May we find patience resting deep in our soul as we walk through affliction.  May we be faithful to stay down on our knees in prayer.

The purpose of “Special Hope” is to give biblical encouragement to mothers of children with special needs, applying God’s Word and practical experience, bringing special hope in the unique challenges we face. When our souls are anchored to hope, we find peace even in the hardest of trials. We move onward with the strength, wisdom and joy Christ is faithful to give.

This blog is focused on encouraging moms who faithfully care for their children. As in an airplane we are told to put our own oxygen masks on first, then on our children, so too must we feed our hearts, souls and minds first so we can best serve our children. May God use His Holy Word and the words offered here to greater fill your cup.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.  Hebrews 10:23