Job loss, financial crisis, rebellious children, disappointments, rejection, unexpected illness–the list goes on. The list that is, we call bad. Is bad ever good? That depends. How are you at finding hope in impossible situations?
Some negative circumstances we readily recognize as good. You’re involved in a car accident–minor injuries–but x-rays reveal a small tumor. Surgery can remove it and literally save your life. It’s in the early stages. You wouldn’t have known about the problem apart from the accident. Was the accident good? No. But good came from it.
Many life-changing events don’t spell good, however. Some may want to throw stones if we even suggest it. But consider these possibilities. How can we find hope in these difficult situations?
Finding Hope in Job Loss
- Freedom to try a new vocation.
- Chance to pursue a long-time dream. (What have you always wanted to do but never would try?)
- Dependence on God and His provision as Jehovah Jireh, the God Who Provides. (Philippians 4:19). May allow others a blessing by using their gifts to minister on your behalf.
Finding Hope in a Major Accident
- Re-evaluation of your life: “Why am I still here?”
- Complete change of direction. A car accident that almost totaled my husband’s car (when we were still dating as youth) turned his heart toward full-time Christian ministry. He never wavered from that decision at the age of 18.
- Even serious injuries can purify our hearts if we let God do His work.
Finding Hope in Marriage Difficulties
- Reveals dormant (or prominent) marital issues that still need work. My husband I often tell couples that conflict can be positive, not always negative. It can simply mean there’s more growth potential in your marriage–lots of God’s grace still to experience. One of grace’s definitions to me is room to grow. God gives us much room to grow.
- Empathy for others. You can add this to almost any situation you experience. Successfully working through (and even sometimes failing at) can open up areas of tenderness and ministry and offer hope to others in similar situations. Because of a difficult marriage season in our own lives, my husband and I pursued training as marriage enrichment leaders years ago. God has so blessed as we’ve tried to help other couples and have led marriage weekend retreats for them.
- Greater dependence on God and prayer.
- Deeper marital intimacy after you “hit the wall” and move past it. Runners often experience this halfway point where they must push past in order to succeed and even finish the race. With bodies screaming, and mind racing along with legs pumping, they may feel resistance with every move. But pushing past that “invisible wall,” they move past the point of no return to success. It’s a principle you can apply to almost any bad situation if you want to move forward and realize the good.
Finding Hope in Rebellious Kids
- New dependence on God and prayer support from others. God often forges friendships and support networks through mutual experiences, bringing hope to those involved.
- Opportunity to believe and see God work in seemingly impossible situations. Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham–who later called himself “Rebel With a Cause” in his autobiography–brought grief to his parents as a prodigal son. But God brought Franklin back, and he is now President of Samaritan’s Purse, a caring organization that has literally reached around the world for Christ.
- Revealing of deeper issues in relationships that can ultimately bring you closer to God and your children.
Finding Hope in the Loss of a Loved One
- Deepened heart hunger for God and a new dependence on Him. Often results in a new, hope-filled longing for your real home in heaven.
- Reevaluation of what is truly important in life (simplifying of priorities).
- Influence in making new laws/groups to help prevent tragedies that could have been avoided. (ex. MADD– Mothers Against Drunk Driving), ultimately bringing hope to multitudes.
- Testimony to the unsaved. At one young man’s funeral, a relative challenged the friends of the deceased to choose Jesus. Eleven did.
- Opportunity to bring comfort and healing to others who have experienced grief as well. God used the testimony of my friend Susan who lost her teenage son and opened up a world of writing, speaking, and grief ministry in which she offers hope to many.
Finding Hope in Other Apparent Tragedies or Disappointments
- New, total dependency on God (as with all the situations above).
- Enlarged opportunities to show God’s amazing grace and power through our difficulties. Nick Vujicic is a great example, and you can find out more about him here.
- Empathetic heart that can help bring others through their difficulties.
God Wants to Give You Hope
Before you object with “That hasn’t happened to me. Nothing good has come from my situation!” remember God’s plans for you: “to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). And the good He desires may differ from your definition. But it will ultimately be good and bring good. In some cases, we won’t see–or understand–the good this side of heaven. But our omniscient God does. And He wants to give you hope.
Don’t misunderstand me. Few of us pop up immediately smiling from a tragedy or impossible situation with, “Praise the Lord!” Healing takes time, but bad can be good if we will ultimately trust God to “work all things together.” It’s not time, but God, that will bring the good–and the hope–He has planned all along.
A Matter of Choice…Or More?
It’s a matter of choice, right–how we respond to the negative circumstances of our lives? That’s the key. Yes and No. It is a response, and it is a matter of choice. But it’s more. It’s a desire. A deep down desire that longs, that craves, that chooses to trust God and to find our hope in Him, while we’re in the waiting room with Him–no matter what the outcome.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose, (Romans 8:28 NIV).
My Personal Prayer for You
Lord Jesus, disaster, disappointment, and discouragement stalk our lives, our nation, and our world daily. Things are changing and moving toward your promised ending. No one knows when or exactly how, but our eyes are on You, and You alone. Help us not to become so earthbound that we forget why we’re here in the first place: to bring glory and honor to You. We don’t ask for easy paths or painless lives. But grant us wisdom, Lord, to understand with heaven’s eyes the greater purpose of everything that happens to us, knowing that You will bring good out of every impossible situation when we look to You. You not only have plans to bring us hope; You are our only hope.
You might also enjoy this blog post I wrote, called Finding Hope When Good Intentions Go Bad.
It’s Your Turn
What about you? How has God brought good out of bad in your life? How have you found hope in impossible situations? I’d love to hear from you anytime. You can always write me through my contact page. Just fill out the basic name and address info, and then the e-mail will come to me. Your name or info is not shared with anyone.
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