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Today we’re going to be talking about maintaining hope even when life doesn’t go or doesn’t look like we expected it to. On today’s show, we’re going to be talking to my friend, Abby McDonald who is going to share with us how she finds hope in Christ in the midst of life’s messes and struggles.
So often we think we hear from God for our direction, but then we question Him when things don’t go the way we thought they were supposed to go. We can see God during those seasons, but we have to shift our perspective. Scripture gives us example after example of people who held onto that hope and held onto their faith when they were encountering adversity. They felt called by God, they received a word from Him, and they persevered, but still, they encountered struggle and opposition and obstacles. When Jesus called the first disciples, they didn’t see a miracle or anything from Him other than the request to follow Him. Yet they dropped everything and went—it wasn’t until later that they saw Him reveal himself as the true Messiah.
We have to look at God’s character and His attributes when we don’t see what we expected. When we receive Christ, we receive a new spirit, but our minds aren’t new. They have to be continually renewed and transformed for our entire lives because we have an enemy who fills our minds with lies.
Abby explained how after going through some pretty tumultuous times, she faces life now with much more peace. When situations come up in her life now, she doesn’t always default to fear or doubt anymore, but now recognizes it as an attack and knows what to do now.
We talk about how so often we focus on the short term conveniences and happiness rather than the long term rewards that come from faith in Jesus. Surrender is often so hard because it has a passive connotation to it, and when we think of surrender, we think someone is laying down and letting people walk all over them. Our culture hasn’t given us a popular view of surrender. But surrender really brings peace, and that only comes through trusting God. If we will let things go, and not demand we understand all the why’s of our experiences, we can experience His peace when we no longer hold onto that need for control.
First, pray, and then know that God has such a beautiful plan for each of our lives. It goes far beyond what we can see in that moment and goes into eternity. He sees all of it and He is knitting all of it together as He works even when we cannot see it. If you prayerfully surrender to God, He will lift that weight. When we try to control things, we are holding on. As long as we hold on (to the bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, need to control, etc.) our hands are not open to receiving God’s best for us. We have to open up our grasp onto the situation and trust God. When we start acting on what we can’t see yet, we give room for God to move.
Abby also shares about trusting God when life doesn’t make sense in a guest post here: Why We Can Trust God Even When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
Watch on YouTube:
Quotables from the Episode:
- If we are certain we heard from God, we just have to be obedient and the end result is up to God, not us.
- We have to hold onto the promises of God.
- It helps to say Scripture out loud, pray it out loud, and write it down.
- When you see God deliver you from something or you see an answer to a prayer no matter how small it may seem, write it down, record it, tell someone about it because when you’re in the thick of it, you need to remember it and recall how God has been faithful in the past.
- Nothing else can stand against the enemy when we have the truth underneath us as our cornerstone. We have to declare God’s truth in those circumstances.
- We all like the mountain top experiences, but fruit grows in the valley, and it’s there that we learn valuable lessons.
- Often we focus on the short term conveniences and happiness rather than the long term rewards that come from faith in Jesus.
- Surrender is essentially telling God that we no longer feel the need to be in control anymore and we are going to trust God enough to give Him control of the situation.
- Security is only found in Christ alone. We think that if we had answers we would be secure. But faith is not based on what we see, but on what we don’t see. Faith is active, it’s not passive. When we start acting on what we can’t see yet, we give room for God to move.
- Ecclesiastes 3:9-11, “What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s word from beginning to end.”
- Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
- Hebrews 11:1, says, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:18, says, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
- It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst
- Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God by Abby McDonald
- Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises by Dr. Michelle Bengtson
- Breaking Anxiety’s Grip Free Study Guide
- Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award
- Hope Prevails Bible Study by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award
Social Media Links for Guest and Host:
Stay connected with Abby McDonald:
For more hope, stay connected with Dr. Bengtson at:
About Abby McDonald:
Abby McDonald is a blogger, speaker, wife and mom whose work has been featured Proverbs 31 Ministries, (in)Courage, For Every Mom, and more. Her passion is to empower women to grow in faith and hope, even when life is messy.
She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of South Carolina, and loves to teach about writing at conferences each year. Abby lives with her husband and three children in western Maryland.
Hosted By: Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Audio Technical Support: Bryce Bengtson