Congratulations, we made it to mid-January! The holidays are over. Daylight hours are few. Temperatures are freezing. Sickness is running rampant. And, for many areas of the US, the sun has seemingly vanished.
Happy New Year to us! Or maybe … not-so-happy new year.
Blue Monday is a name given to the third Monday of January, which is reported to be one of the most depressing days of the year. There are many conflicting opinions on the validity of the study that determined this, but regardless of its scientific accuracy, I think it’s still an important thing for us to talk about.
Because for a lot of us — myself included — winter is hard.
A few weeks ago my husband and I were waiting in line for an event. As if my frozen toes weren’t enough evidence to prove it was too cold to be standing outside, one glance at my weather app confirmed my suspicions. I reloaded the app just to make sure it was reading the temperature right, but a second glance proved it was in fact only 7˚ F. Not too far in front of me, a little girl started crying.
“Mommy, I’m cold. Can we please go inside? Please!” she shouted. “I don’t want to be out here anymore.”
My heart felt the weight of her desperate plea, and for a moment, I saw a glimpse of myself in her distress. Because I’ll be real with ya, sisters — this past month has not been an easy one for me.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe, like the little girl standing in the freezing cold, there’s a part of you that’s begging God to come to your rescue right now. You’re crying out, “Father, I’m miserable. Can you please get me out of the mess that I’m in?” But all you’re experiencing is silence. If that’s you, here’s what I want to say to you today:
There’s still hope for life, and there’s a hope that can help you through your hardest days.
The name of that hope is Jesus Christ — the fulfillment of God’s promises and perfect plan. The risen King who proved once and for all just how deeply the Father loves and cares for us. The Savior who gives us a reason to trust and believe.
No matter what we face, we always have hope, because God’s promises will never fail us.
“We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:1-20 (MSG)
Another version of this passage reads, “we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (NIV). Hope is the anchor. Jesus is the anchor. And we don’t have to do the hard work of securing that anchor to the ocean floor, because Jesus has already secured it there for us. All we have to do is tether our souls to the rope and never let go. Piece of cake, right?
At this point you might be wondering, if it’s so simple, then why does life feel so hopeless sometimes?
If you’ve ever been to a church service, you might’ve heard or sang the old hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Written in 1757 by 22-year-old Robert Robinson, there’s a section of the hymn that I think captures why it’s so hard to stay tethered to the hope of Jesus. Robinson writes, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.”
God’s Word is full of hope. Jesus himself is full of hope. But in our human nature we are full of sin, and that sin makes us wander away from the source of hope. As Paul describes in Romans 7:
“I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway … I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (19, 22-25).
The remedy for our hardest day is and always will be Jesus. He wants to be our hope. He’s asking for us to come to Him so that He may give us rest and restore our weary souls (Matthew 11:28-30). But we have to choose Him first. What does that look like in life’s hard seasons?
Instead of letting our thoughts run wild and make us feel overwhelmed, we run to Jesus. Instead of focusing on everything that’s going wrong, we run to Jesus, who can and will make everything right (Romans 8:28). Instead of letting our misery become the soundtrack to our lives, we run to Jesus, who replaces that soundtrack with peace (Philippians 4:7). Instead of holding on to the lies of the enemy, we run to Jesus, who reminds us of His promises.
The answer to life’s hardest times is simply this: put your hope in Jesus.
To close out today’s post, I want to share a few verses about abiding in Jesus. My prayer is these verses will encourage you to stay tethered to Jesus, so that in every moment He can be your lifeline and hope.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3
So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. 1 John 2:24
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. John 15:10
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:4-5
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-6
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. 1 John 5:4
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13