In the ongoing aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, I wanted to share these encouraging words from an updated post. I hope these thoughts will encourage you today, wherever you are.
When you find yourself in a storm of impossible circumstances, how do you get through it? What encouraging words do you need to hear?
Are you one of these?
- One of the victims of a disaster like Hurricane Harvey
- The one whose heart is broken by another’s cruelty and refusal to stay in the marriage
- The one who is searching for something–or someone–to ease the pain of loneliness
- The mom who struggles to find the balance between working at home and ministering and caring for her kids
- The one who cannot work from home and whose heart is paralyzed with fear for the children’s’ protection
- The father whose job is on the line and who lives with fear of a pink slip
- The one who just got the pink slip and has a mortgage due
- The parent whose kids have rebelled
- The one who longs to find purpose and meaning and joy again
- The one who has temporarily lost his vision and stability because of one careless error
- The heart that longs for the fullness of God, to be filled with His presence, but can’t hear Him in the noise of their circumstances
- The one who whose world has turned strangely dark, with no hope of change
- The one who cannot escape from the nightmares of injustice, violation, or chronic physical pain
- The one who has just received the doctor’s news: terminal
- The one who has agonized in prayer but sees no change
- The one who is imprisoned in an endless cycle of destructive habits
- The one whose resume reads “success,” but whose heart cries “exhausted”
- The one who has just said goodbye to someone they love
You may find yourself in one of those categories, or in none of them. Maybe you know someone who’s struggling in a storm or wilderness right now and needs encouragement. While watching the news coverage of Hurricane Harvey, my husband and I found ourselves wishing we still had a larger boat so we could go down and help rescue victims of the flooding.
Each of us long to help in some way when we hear of others’ suffering. Because we’ve all experienced pain in one form or another. But even if we can’t go or be there physically, we can all give of ourselves in some way: through gifts of time or money, through praying, through practical help, or just offering friendship and love.
I’m not sure who needs these encouraging words, but I’m guessing all of us have experienced a wilderness or storm at one time or another in our lives. Maybe you’re still there. So, whoever you are, these encouraging words are for you.
Encouraging Words For You
Here are the verses God impressed me to share with you as I was reading from Isaiah 35:1-3, 10.
- “Strengthen those who have tired hands.”
- “Encourage those who have weak knees.”
- “Say to those who are afraid, ‘Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.'”
- “Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be overcome with joy and gladness.”
Isaiah lived in disturbing times, when God’s people imprisoned themselves in their own deserved judgment, following endless cycles of disobedience. Yet God promised hope and those words of encouraging words to balance their impending judgment: a light, as it were, at the end of the tunnel.
I’m sure Joshua needed encouragement as well, even though he had just emerged from a literal wilderness with Moses for 40 years. But he was moving into unconquered territory now. He, too, needed encouraging words, just to believe God’s promises to him and to God’s people. What God told him was not an option, but a command:
“I command you–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord Your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NLT).
Job held on to his hope and faith in God even though he lost his entire family, his livelihood–and almost his health.
God further promises that hope does not disappoint. (Romans 5:4; Isaiah 49:23, NIV). Wherever you are, whatever “wilderness” you’re in right now, cling to those encouraging words. Cling to Jesus.
Earthly hope will let us down. But true hope, wrapped up in a personal relationship and belief in Christ will never disappoint. In His word, God offers us hope in impossible situations. That kind of hope is rooted not in circumstances, but in Christ alone.
A Personal Prayer for You
Lord Jesus, please hear the cries of those still struggling in a storm or wandering in the wilderness of difficult or discouraging circumstances. Comfort weary, fearful hearts, and come alongside those who desperately need your companionship, counsel, and intervention. You have promised your presence, and I ask you to make Your presence real in every reader’s heart today. Give them hope and light wherever they are. You are the only One who can truly help. Be their refuge and strength. Encourage them today, and in the weeks and months to come, as only You can. Help them to run to Your arms of love. Let them know, that in You, all things are possible. Help us to carry one another’s burdens, Lord, wherever we are, giving whatever we can, whenever we can. Pour out a love in us that crosses all barriers. Thank You for Your encouraging words, Jesus!
Are you in a storm or in the wilderness right now? What encouraging words or Bible verses are strengthening you? How did God help bring you out of a stressful times?