5 Biblical Promises for Your Fearful, Hurting, Waiting Heart

Pain can lead us to harden our hearts, or we can allow God to use our pain to mold us to the image of Christ.

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The amaryllis bursts into full bloom on a Monday, and I wonder if it’s been waiting for the start of a fresh week to do this new thing. It bows low under the weight of its heavy blossom, now crowned in glory, and it seems the green stem might just snap in two.  Sometimes the beauty of becoming what we’re meant to be feels like it might just break us if gets any heavier.  We long for the Biblical promises to carry us through, but under the weight of our actual lives, simply breathing starts to feel like the most we can possibly handle.

We’ve had a few heavy months here.

I watch the amaryllis become its fullest self, and I wonder about my own becoming.

We’re all becoming.

We’re becoming fully devoted servants, seekers, and lovers.

We are all choosing whether we’ll become grumblers or worshipers, quitters or winners, givers or takers.

We’re all choosing whether we’ll let the challenges of our quiet lives lead us to look more or less like the gods we claim to serve.

Some of us are busy serving the gods of hurry, perfectionism, appearance, and acclaim.  Others are chasing after the One True God and praying the trials will shape us to a new image, reflections of the Perfect One.

 

Biblical Promises for Your “Not Yet” Seasons

There are days when I worship the gods that leave me empty: gods like platform, success, notoriety, and intellect. Above these pursuits, my greatest longing is to live in communion with the One True God and to allow the hard days to mold me more and more to the image of his one and only Son.

I’m thinking about our past few months and the trials as I stare at the amaryllis. I’m giving thanks for the friend who blessed me with the gift of this new life for our home and the way she walked with me through the storms of our winter.  Shadows are dancing on the wall, and I suddenly notice something that catches my eye.

In my relentless pursuit to find a place to keep the amaryllis, I ultimately decided to put it on top of the cabinet in the dining room. I put it next to the stone wall art that adorns the center of the cabinet.  It’s a beige rock with these words painted in black: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

And there, side-by-side in plain display, are two emblems of our winter. The flower bends low toward the words about my Savior, and I wonder if it’s bowing in worship.  The words about Christ stand out in stark contrast and echo one of those Biblical promises that’s enough to carry a weary soul through the deepest valley.

 

When We Distort God’s Biblical Promises

We like to use these Biblical promises as our mantras for chasing our dreams, disregarding whether God has orchestrated the dreams or whether they’re simply our own hopeful ideas. I’ve used this verse out of context more times than I like to admit.  I used it as a teen to declare victory at the start of volleyball games and track meets.  I used it as a young woman to give myself the courage to get on airplanes, hike into the wilderness, and climb mountains.

The Apostle Paul wasn’t talking about sporting events, job promotions, or personal goals when he penned these words to the Philippian church. Paul was in prison.  As the verses prior explain, he was learning to be content in hunger, suffering, and all circumstances.

He didn’t write these words as a Biblical promise for teen girls with deep desires to win volleyball matches. He wrote these words to remind believers that even in the most difficult circumstances, we can endure because Christ gives us strength.

I stare at the amaryllis rising, and I am hopeful that the warm currents of springtime are leading us into a glorious season of new beginnings. I can step into this season with confidence because I know that even if the next season includes suffering and hardship, we will endure because Christ gives us strength.

 

5 Biblical Promises for Trials and Struggles

The Word of God is an anchor for our souls when we need strength. Looking back over God’s faithfulness throughout difficult seasons offers hope as well.  Here are five Biblical promises that emerged as experiential truth in the past winter season of our quiet lives here in western Pennsylvania:

 

1. We get to choose between fear and trust.

The beginning of my winter was marked by fear. I carried fears about our family’s future, fears about my health, and fears about what I’d do if my carefully crafted plans fell to pieces.  These are common fears.  We tend to worry about all sorts of things, most of which never happen.

One unseasonably warm January evening, I decided to actually take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. It was time to stop letting fear consume me.  I  told God I trusted him with all my heart, above and beyond my own understanding.

We always have a choice regarding fear.  We can choose to walk the circuitous road of what-if and worry, or we can choose to trust the one who promises straight paths for all who trust in him.

 

2. The valley of the shadow of death offers an invitation that is filled with goodness.

What happens when our worst fears actually do become reality? What happens when the new career doesn’t work out, the child isn’t healed, the man leaves, or the ministry falls apart?

Psalm 23:4 reads, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” The best news in the darkest valley is that for the believer, Jesus is still walking with you.  He won’t leave.  When we turn to him and ask him to be our portion in the darkness, he really is enough.  He is good.  He heals.  Our Lord restores and comforts.

 

3. Hope that’s built upon outcomes is an unstable foundation.

Some of my fears from early winter became difficult realities. When heartache sets in, most of us want to run through the painful process of grief and discouragement.  We want to get to the other side of the dark valley as quickly as possible. We want to fix things, rearrange the outcome, and find hope in a promise that things will improve.

Sadly, we live in a broken world in which circumstances sometimes get worse before they get better. When we put our hope in improved circumstances, we build our lives on shifting sands.  Our hope must come from the truth that Jesus is with us in the hard times. He has promised that we can endure any hard season because he gives us strength.

 

4. In times of waiting, remember that your calling is for today.

Part of our winter included a new stage of life that mostly felt like an invitation to wait. I don’t like to wait.  I get anxious when the line at the grocery store is five people deep.  My heart races when traffic slows to a halt on the interstate.  The words “not yet” feel like agony to my restless soul.

It’s easy to get caught up in long-term plans for our life-callings. Eighteen-year-olds understand this.  They graduate from high school, and suddenly, everyone wants to know what one specific thing they want to do with the rest of their lives.

By the time we reach our thirties, these silly questions have mostly stopped. We’ve learned to extend grace.  We’ve learned that a calling for one segment of life might look drastically different in five years, and that’s ok.

This winter reminded me that my calling is for right now.  My calling isn’t merely some long-term vision about what I’ll be doing full-time when I’m fifty.  My calling is to love the three people who live in this house with me right now.  It’s to invest in the relationships that surround me right now.  It’s to walk down the road and build relationships with the neighbors who live in my community right now.

 

5. Our pain can lead us to harden our hearts, or it can lead us to songs of gratitude.

As we hit some bumps in the road this winter, I was most consistently reminded of the words Jesus spoke to his disciples when he suspected John the Baptist was offended that he had been put in prison: “Blessed is the one who does not take offense at me” (Matthew 11:6).

Pain can lead us to harden our hearts, or we can allow God to use our pain to mold us to the image of Christ. The latter is generally more difficult, but it leads to the lives we most truly want to live.

I conclude my time of silent pondering by the amaryllis.  Suddenly, I notice another blossom emerging behind the first vibrant pink flower. Together they bow toward the cornerstone, and my heart bends low with them.

 

This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Stacey Pardoe

Featured Image by Franz W. from Pixabay

 
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About the Author

Stacey Pardoe is a Kingdom Winds Contributor. Stacey's hope is that her words will inspire you to seek God in the midst of your ordinary moments and encounter his love in deeper ways.