Hope for the Hard Days – Encouragement for Today – May 13, 2020

Brenda Bradford OttingerMay 13, 2020

Hope for the Hard Days

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"But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence." Jeremiah 17:7 (NLT)

Air conditioning blasted through dusty moving van vents as we pulled away from our southern roots. But the farther north we drove, the more those vents poured out heat. Our choice of sandals and shorts proved naive, as 1,300 miles later, our new city welcomed us to a sky-show greeting the likes of which we'd never known: snow flurry confetti tumbling gently in the breeze.

During those early days of northern life, I devoted many an hour to my favorite new pastime: watching fresh snow fall from the heavens, drifting in peaceful purpose as if called by its Maker to bring calmness.

And it didn't disappoint.

Until one day in May, six months later.

Arriving early to gather my kids from school, I lingered in the waning moments of quiet, when to my southern-born surprise, fluffy fat flakes of white danced playfully along my windshield.

Seriously? Is spring not a thing around these parts? I wondered.

Thinking back to that chilly afternoon of yesteryear, I smile. For though it's now another place and time, here I sit again - captivated, as delicate snow puffs catch in the wind this early spring day.

Soft beauty elegantly falling in the "wrong" season.

And yet, there's something about snow that makes me want to forgive it. Even when it pushes the boundaries of its season, I'm charmed by its grace.

Beauty is relentless like that, isn't it? Always adapting to its surroundings, never intimidated by the unpredictability of a broken world, showering grace into the most unexpected of moments.

I ponder how nature sometimes mirrors life - reflecting the "winters" of discomfort, hardship or pain that's lingered too long, pushing the boundaries of their seasons, leaving us craving the warmth of relief.

Sweet friend, does this ring familiar to you? Are you trudging through trials that seem to continue long past their seasons?

Sometimes it's hard to notice through the haze of exhaustion, but in these times of relying on God amidst the struggle, we're living the truth of Jeremiah 17:7: "... blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence." His very essence is our every hope!

For every drawn-out season when we thought for sure we'd be past this by now - His strength and mercy are our hope for the hard days; His character and power are our confidence.

The God who plans our paths is faithful to bless our trust. Although we might not always sense this blessing in the moment, our trust isn't in the understanding of our circumstances, but in the faithfulness of our God who makes all things beautiful in their time.

So may we quiet our anxious timetables and trust His pace as we wait for the snow to melt amid the seemingly unending winters of life. In this place of trust, beauty abides. Beauty in the relief of surrender ... in the stability of hope ... in the promise of blessing.

Looking out my window, I can spy the barely visible green of blossoms pressing up against lacy white snow - two seasons converging. The long winter of pain, bumping up against the comforting spring of relief. Beauty beneath the surface, greeting beauty in the light - beauty upon beauty, both playing their parts in the story.

And it looks a lot like hope.

Dear Lord, thank You for being my hope and confidence when hardships linger, for You are trustworthy in every season of my life. Please open my eyes to beauty in the unexpected places, and remind me that trusting in Your goodness is the safest place my heart can wait. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

Psalm 62:5, "Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him." (NLT)

Romans 12:12, "Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying." (NLT)

Jeremiah 29:11, "‘For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (NIV)

Trusting God with our hardships and fears can be difficult when we just want relief. Learn how to see your fear as a reason to draw closer to God rather than push Him away with the Overcoming Fear 30-Day Devotional. This month-long devotional will help you uproot fear and anxiety from your mind by soaking in scriptural truths to redirect your thinking. Buy your copy today in our bookstore!

For more encouragement, connect with today's devotion author Brenda Bradford Ottinger on her website.

What would trusting God amid life's hardships look like for you today? How might you find hope and beauty in this season?

We'd love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2020 by Brenda Bradford Ottinger. All rights reserved.

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