Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 06/22/16

The Provision of Hope

kathy willis hope meme5

STORY: Everyday Hope—Enough for Every Day

Have you ever been so discouraged that you asked God to infuse you with His hope because you had none to work up on your own? I’ll share my own story so you know I’m not giving advice without first living it out in my own life.

At the end of February, my husband’s pastorate ended suddenly. We had to move out of the parsonage and really, best if we left town too. While reeling from the rumors that surfaced, we somehow had to make sense of whatever direction God had for us. Answers weren’t quick to come (they still aren’t!). Where to move? What to do? How to earn a living? And on a more intimate level, who offers a safe place for us to entrust our hearts?

Do you know how hard it is to plan when you have no plans? All our decisions awaited answers contingent on different pieces of the puzzle being solved first. So we resolved to enjoy each day and not borrow trouble from tomorrow’s unknowns. Appreciate daily provisions. Allow God time to do a work. So many asked how we could actually grin during our trials that I gave some online remedies for how to make the most of your bad day. See the “Steps” below for a few of these tips.

It’s important to realize even when you have bad days (or longer rough spots) it’s not the end of the world. In each day, there’s a way to celebrate life. Be on high-alert for God’s lessons and blessings. Season your hopeless situations with joy.

It’s not about rewinding and rehearsing the painful circumstances. It’s not about assigning blame. It’s all about trusting God for what is yet to come and because of that faith, having hope during the wait.

When you feel cut off from answers, yet you have a calm assurance that you’re going to be okay no matter how things turn out, that’s God-hope. Human-hope relies on circumstances improving. None of us are guaranteed “better” because too much of what gives us external happiness depends on circumstances outside of our control. God is the Hope of Enough—His presence overrides the pain of any trial and fertilizes joy.

STUDY: Where is Your God? Where is Your Hope?

Today’s study section will be divided differently. We’re going to focus on Psalm 42, which was instructed to be sung by the descendants of Korah. There are so many good nuggets, quoting only one verse isn’t enough!

Unquenchable Thirst

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42: 1-2 NLT)

  • As you read further in this psalm you will see that the people were going through a difficult time, so it’s especially meaningful to see this song start with this passage. What is the first thing they do?
  • How can awareness of God’s presence help you with your current “hopeless” situation?


Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! (Psalm 42:3-4 NLT)

  • How is their sadness revealed in this passage?
  • During a recent or current trial, did your heart want to go back to the way it “used to be”?

Hope Sings His Songs

Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you—even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar. I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. (Psalm 42:6-8 NLT)

  • What is their remedy for discouragement?
  • Notice the psalmist sings God’s songs. That’s where the hope is. Not in a song of lament. What is the result?

Not Forgotten

 “O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?” (Psalm 42:9-10 NLT)

  • Why is it important that they recognized God was their rock?
  • Have you ever felt like God has forgotten you?
  • During your discouragement, does it feel like you are wandering around in the circle of a holding pattern?

Why so Sad?

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:5-6 and repeated in Psalm 42:11 NLT)

  • This refrain is so important to the song, it’s repeated twice. Once after grieving over their broken hearts. Then again after admitting they feel forgotten by God. What is your typical response when you are discouraged and sad?
  • The psalmist determines to put his hope in God. What is the end result of that? My guess is that this action is circular. Place hope in God. Sing His praises. Esteem Him as Savior and God. Repeat. Place hope in God…

STEPS: Remedies for Bad Days Leads to Renewed Hope

  1. Laugh. Often. It’s possible even on bad days!
  2. Read God’s Word and let Him speak to you.
  3. Do something ridiculous and silly.
  4. Help someone.
  5. Play with your pet.
  6. Talk to God like He’s in the room with you. (He is.)
  7. Drink in God’s beautiful nature.
  8. Experience something new. New food. New place. New culture.
  9. Exercise and really push it, don’t go easy on yourself!
  10. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. (Including yourself!)
  11. Learn something new. Learning is the breath of life!
  12. Rest—really rest.

Copyright 2016 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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