No one ever told me life would be hard. In fact, I heard repeatedly that the Christian life should be a blessed life. If you go to church, read your Bible, pray and avoid sin you should be healthy, wealthy and wise. That has not been my story. This is why I share how to keep hope alive as a Christian so often on this site.The Christian life is a hard life. Trials, tribulations, grief, persecution, and rejection are all a normal part of the Christian life. We need hope. We need to know how to keep hope when life is hard! Click To Tweet
Why Look at How to Keep Hope live As a Christian
When you first met Jesus, what did you imagine the Christian life would be like?
Did you ever imagine you would need hope?
I didn’t. When I met Jesus I was a broken 6-year old girl. Hope was what I needed before He came into my life. My life was something you might read about in a horror novel.
Seclusion, neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse…
I remember nights I would imagine how nice death must be – just to escape the horrors of life.
Then I met Jesus. Christian people were different than any other adults I’d known. They seemed to care about me and told me Jesus loved me.
I didn’t understand love. I hadn’t done anything to please Jesus. Why would He love me?
But soon after salvation, I was led down an ugly theological path.
- Work to stay in God’s favor.
- Sickness reveals sin in your life.
- Poverty is because of your sins.
- Hard times in your life are proof you’ve displeased God.
Today I share often about how to keep hope for life because the Christian life was never promised to be easy or prosperous as the world sees prosperity.
The Christian life is a hard life. Trials, tribulations, grief, persecution, and rejection are all a normal part of the Christian life.
We need hope. We need to know how to keep hope when life is hard!
Hope in difficult times quotes
Throughout the history of the world, people have clung to hope in difficult times.
“Never losing hope is key to survival.” ~ Admirla Stockdale, Vietnam POW camp survivor.
“Difficulties are just things to overcome.” ~Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic Expedition 1914-1916
“I can thank my God for every storm that has wrecked me upon the Rock, Christ Jesus!” ~Darlene Deibler Rose, Concentration Camp Serviver WWII –Evidence Not Seen
What is Hope?
Hope is defined by the world as – a feeling of expectation or a desire for something.
That is NOT the hope I am talking about.
If all you have to keep you going in life is a feeling you will soon fall apart because feelings change and lie.
No, I am talking the Christian hope.
The Christian hope is having confidence or trust through faith in a future thing. Expecting God to show up in your right now situation and move.The Christian hope is having confidence or trust through faith in a future thing. Expecting God to show up in your right now situation and move. Click To Tweet
Finding Hope in Difficult Times – Bible Verses
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NASB)
“Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
and They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:31 NASB)
“And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.” (Psalm 42:11 NASB)
How Are Hope and Christian Hope Different?
Hope desires something, possibly something amazing but has no way of knowing if it will happen.
Christian Hope, being rooted in faith in a supernatural loving God, expects the thing God has promised will happen to happen.
Related: Bible Verses about Hope and Love
One is a dream, the other is awaiting with faith.
As Christians, we’ve been made promise after promise by our Universe creating God.
Faith believes God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.
Christian Hope is holding tight to that faith even when you can’t see how God will show up.Faith believes God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. Christian Hope is holding tight to that faith even when you can’t see how God will show up. Click To Tweet
What causes Christians to lose hope?
“we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know.” (1 Thessalonians 3:2-4 NASB bold emphasis mine)
Being appointed to affliction is contrary to 21st Century Christianity, but the Bible tells us in many places that the Christian life will be one of trials and suffering.
Why? What causes this suffering for Christians?
Why We Lose Hope
Christians have a very real enemy. Now, that enemy chooses to work in ways and through means that it looks like life is just hard.
- Conflict in relationships
- A difficult marriage that ends in a hard divorce
- Wayward children
- Financial difficulties
- Church conflict
- Sickness and pain
- Loss of loved ones
- Confusing church doctrine or theology
- False teachings about the faith
The Thessalonian church was dealing with all of those things
- Sever persecution
- Loss of family when they chose Christianity
- False teachings being spread
They were suffering all of that without a written Bible to help them stay grounded. That is why Paul wrote a letter to them, to fix confusing theological teachings and to encourage them to keep hope alive when they were at a loss of hope!
3 Steps to Keep Your Hope Alive
The book of 1 Thessalonians is a guide for how to keep your hope alive.
Paul gives explanations, clarifications, and encouragement all throughout it about how to keep hope alive during tough times.
- Expect the schemes of the enemy.
- Know the truth of God.
- Remember who wins the war.
1. Expect the Schemes of the Enemy to Keep up Hope
We can agree that difficult times will come. And let’s remember that the enemy loves to use certain tactics; distraction, discouragement, and doubt.
A time tested strategy of the enemy is confusing or false Church doctrine. If he can get us arguing among ourselves we will stop fighting him.A time tested strategy of the enemy is confusing or false Church doctrine. If he can get us arguing among ourselves we will stop fighting him. Click To Tweet
Trials and Confusing Church Doctrine
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NASB)
There is much confusion around death.
- Will burial affect anything when Jesus comes back?
- What happens to your soul when you die?
- Does it go directly to heaven with God, or does it stay on earth as a ghost?
- What about when children die?
- How do you grieve when a lost loved one dies?
We have soooo many questions about death. What I love about God is that He cares about what we care about. He doesn’t shout from heaven, “Stop bickering about things you can’t understand.”
Nope, God, through Paul here, reminds us that He alone has the power over death and the grave.
It is critical that we understand that our life is a part of a bigger story – the story of the kingdom of God.
The enemy wants us to get so confused about the issue of death and the afterlife that we become indifferent to the Christian life.
“Life is short,” or “You only live once,” attitudes lead to an ineffective Christian life.
“The Thessalonians’ struggles about death would have ripple effects into how they lived. If there is no hope in death, why does it matter how we live. Why bother to live holy and pure and sacrifice the pleasures of the world for no earthly benefit?” ~The Gospel Project
No, death is not the end of the story! But before you can look to the end of the story of God, you have to know Biblical truth.
2. Know the truth of God to keep hope alive
How does hope change how we face trials and grief?
God cares that we live for more than just this 70 to 100 years on a dying planet.
Paul doesn’t say, quit worrying about death. God knows death is a tough subject for us and a confusing one. Trials and grief are a natural part of this Christian life.
The death of a saved loved one
When we know the person is saved, we grieve with joy that we will see them again.
“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 NASB)
Sorrow at missing our loved ones who have died
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 NASB)
We still miss those who die before us. We serve a God who gives us so much peace and comfort along the journey.
The death of a lost loved one
How do we grieve when a lost loved one dies?
That kind of grief is so hard. The only hope in difficult situations like this is that we must see it as further motivation to share the Gospel.
Every lost loved one who dies, that I never shared the love of God with, convicts me.
We are called to go and make disciples, teaching them to obey all that God has taught us (Matthew 28:19-20).
Does your Christian hope push you to witness to the lost people in your daily life?Does your Christian hope push you to witness to the lost people in your daily life? Click To Tweet
3. Remember Who Wins the War to Keep Hope
One key aspect of the Christian hope is hope in the second coming of Christ.
Knowing how Jesus will come back is something to give us hope that He hasn’t come back yet – which is another scheme the enemy likes to play at.
But knowing why He is coming back is KEY to keeping hope alive! He is coming back to take us to be with Him for eternity.
“The end will come with the return of Jesus Christ… that is why a Christan can be an optimist. That is why a Christian can smile in the midst of all that is happening… We know that the end will be: The triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ” ~Billy Graham
Live a Good Christian Life Remembering the End
“So then, let us not sleep, like the rest, but let us stay awake and be self-controlled” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 NASB)
Remembering that we will live with Christ forever should motivate us to live a holy life.
We should always be prepared because we don’t know when He will return.
“We don’t want to be caught off guard when Christ returns and be discovered living foolishly” ~The Gospel Project
This question really made me thing. What is foolish living?
- Living for ourselves.
- Focused on comfort.
- Ignoring the needs of the poor and the widow.
- Hours on social media with no time to study the Word.
Those are things that come to mind, and they describe my life. Talk about conviction!
Revival to bring Unity in the Church
The 21st Century Church (me included) need a great awakening. We need to see sin as sin. If only we would pray for unity in the Church!
We need to be sanctified, transformed, made holy, set on fire to win the lost. This kind of revival starts as a personal revival but would soon spread!
Christian hope tells us to look to the end, anticipating eternity in Christ. The kind of anticipation that leads us to live holy.The 21st Century Church (me included) need a great awakening. We need to see sin as sin. If only we would pray for unity in the Church! We need to be sanctified, transformed, made holy, set on fire to win the lost. Click To Tweet
1 Thessalonians 5:12-23 (summarized)
- Esteem authority
- Warn the unruly
- Comfort the fainthearted
- Uphold the weak
- Be patient with all
- Avoid revenge
- Pursue what is good for you and others
- Rejoice always
- Pray without ceasing
- Give thanks in everything
- Do not quench the Spirit
- Do not despise prophecies
- Test all things
- Do what is good
- Abstain from evil
How to Keep Hope Alive During Tough Times
We need strength for difficult times. Christian hope brings that strength.
I don’t know where this finds you, but don’t lose hope. When you feel you are losing hope in life hold onto Jesus. If you have no hope for the future I pray you will see the attack of the enemy at work.
The enemy wants nothing more than to get Christians confused, frustrated, overwhelmed and hopeless. An ineffective Christian is no threat to him.
So how do I keep my hope alive?
- Expect trials
- Know Biblical truth
- Remember who wins the war
How can I improve my hope?
Spend time in the Word, pray the scripture, surround yourself with other believers for support and encouragement.
How do you stay hopeful in difficult times?
Remember difficult times are a natural part of life not always related to your past, present or future mess. And keep your eyes fixed on God through the difficult seasons to keep hope! He has all you need.
Related: Hope in Hard Times
How do you give hope to someone?
Be there for them. Live your hard seasons out loud so others see God move through you in them. Don’t try to fix them, but support them in ways that show God’s love.
The Christian Hope is available free to all who believe. Be encouraged in that today!
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