“How are you feeling, Mom?” was the simple, genuine question asked by my youngest. It would normally be followed up with, “Can I get you anything?” because that’s just the generous and caring heart he is. But we didn’t get that far in the conversation this time because his first question just opened the valve to the Niagra Falls of tears I’d been successfully holding back all weekend in my attempts to remain strong and courageous.
That wasn’t the display I wanted him to see. It wasn’t the answer I wanted to give. Not because I think it’s wrong for our kids to see our true emotions, but because if I was being honest, I didn’t want to be in that situation. We had prayed—oh how we had prayed, and had many praying as well, but for whatever reason, God did not answer our prayers the way we had hoped, and my circumstances remained grim and daunting. I was on the side of truth when clearly truth was neither valued nor appreciated, but in fact, punished.
My prayers, in essence, followed those of Jesus. “Father, take this cup from me…” Yet, He did not.
And at that moment, in front of my young son, I had to choose how to respond. Was I going to be angry? Was I going to give up on God? Was I going to cower in fear? Or was I going to maintain my hope and believe that despite what I could see, that His promises are true and trustworthy?
Earlier in the week I only half-jokingly commented to a friend, “If you want to test your convictions, write a book.” My book, “Hope Prevails” that will be released by Revell Publishers August 2016 has done just that. Since agreeing in obedience to God to write that book, every aspect of my life has been challenged and attacked: my family relationships, my career, my finances, my friendships, my health and more in so many ways. Each time it happens, I have a choice to make: am I going to believe that hope does in fact prevail, or am I going to give up? And each time I come back to the deep knowing that hope in God never disappoints.
What do you do when people hurt you and relationships that you’ve loved, cherished, and invested your heart in let you down?
What do you do when your health fails you and despite the doctors, the prescriptions, the prayers, healing doesn’t come?
What do you do when the legal system you’ve been socialized to believe in doesn’t achieve the truth and justice that is deserved?
What do you do when you work yourself until you’re physically spent and yet there are still more bills than paycheck?
What was I going to do now that my circumstances enveloped me and threatened to suffocate the very life out of me? I endeavored to maintain my hope in Him and stand on His promises, believing that truly, “Greater is He who is in me than He who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
My heart still grieved because of my situation, but in that pain, I was comforted to see that in Jesus’ pain He too had a choice to make and He chose to seek the Father. “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:44).
Bob Sorge, in Secrets of the Secret Place, wrote: “To wait on God is to stare at his hand.” And in those desperate times, those times when this world has no viable immediate answers, our only solution is to hope, to wait on God, trusting His promises, staring into His hand of mercy, grace, love, favor, and provision.
When we are in the darkest valleys, we must trust Him to light our path. Usually, though, He only ever gives enough light for our very next step. It keeps us wholely dependent on Him, and in relationship with Him—the very reason He created us to begin with.
He promises in His word to work ALL things together for our good if we love Him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). It doesn’t mean those things will look like we expect or even hope, but we can trust that He will work them together for our good and His glory.
I have heard it said that “Sometimes God will put a Goliath in front of you for you to find the David within you.” That “David” within you is Him. Scripture says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In our times of greatest weakness, when we have nothing left to give, and we have no other choice but to depend on Him, that’s when we can most clearly see His strength operate in us.
Friend, I don’t know what you are going through today, but I encourage you to trust in Him and the Hope that He offers. It is there that you will find your strength.
If you’ve found this to be true in the past, I’d love for you to share about it in the comments to encourage others!
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.