This week I begin my last full semester at UNCG. It’s a pretty exciting feeling, but at the same time, plenty of unknowns that go along with that. The things that are unknown in our lives can cause us to fear a great deal of things. Will I be able to support myself? Is this the right move? What happens if I got it wrong? These questions make us afraid, they scare us because the unknown is a scary thing. You see, life is full of these scary unknown situations. We have questions about each of our futures and the purpose we have in life, while at the same time, events come up in our lives over and over that cause us to question our God. We see people close to us pass away, we see the pains of addiction, we feel the sting of the hand that was laid on us, and we remember the words of death spoken over us. You see while those things may not have happened to you, but we are all affected in some way by those in our lives. We feel the pain and question why these happen to us; we begin to lose hope. But there is hope. There is always hope. I look back at my own life and I have watched friends lose their battle with depression, and I will never get a chance to see them again. When my friend passed away two years ago, I had no idea why or how God could let that happen to my friend who helped me gain confidence in myself and helped me be who I was in Christ. I began to lose hope, but God gave me new hope. You see in that moment I made a choice. I chose to follow and trust, even when I had every right in my mind to be angry, I chose to be sacred over scared.
In that hardship I saw that God used the horrible situation to grow me and give me an opportunity to help the family that was hurting. I saw myself and others surround my friend’s family with prayer and comfort, simply being present in their life. You see we have a choice in the moments where we start to lose hope. We can either be scared or choose to be sacred. The word sacred means to be connected with God, deserving veneration or great reverence. This idea of choosing to be sacred is the idea that we stand in the midst of suffering and look fear in the face and say, you have no power over me. Choosing to be sacred is choosing to place your hope back in Christ, because in all things, he will work. I was reading through Lamentations chapter three this past week, this book is written by a prophet named Jeremiah during a time where the good king had died and the people were returning to old habits, and in the book, God does not speak. I feel like that’s true for some of you right now. You are in dire need of help, but God is not speaking. Jeremiah is speaking and crying out because of his sadness, he is a mix of angry and depressed about the situation he finds himself in, yet there is a defining moment in the book. Chapter three was that moment. Jeremiah lists out how the God is allowing this pain and trouble to surround him, then he pauses for one moment, a defining moment in the midst of walking through hell. He reflects on the pain, then in an instant says this in verses 21-24, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” You see, when we change our minds from being scared to sacred, we gain new hope, and our new hope is in Christ. In our moments of fear, we can have new hope in Christ’s love.
Hope combats our attackers.
This idea came to me a few weeks ago because of the new chapters that are about to begin in the coming months. I start classes tomorrow and this always fills me with a level of dread. I feel like the enemy tries to use my anxieties to hold me back. We all have an enemy that is working against us and trying to warp our minds to run from the savior that brings us life. We have to fight this enemy. We have to take a stand and go to battle with them. The biggest key is that our hope in Christ combats the attacks of our enemy, and the best part is, we are on the winning side. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, he defeated death, meaning that our enemy lost. So don’t give the loser any power over your life. Claim victory in the hope of the one who is already victorious. We must stand in freedom and move forward in the midst of heartache and suffering, because our hope is in Christ, and he works in all things to grow us. Even when we may not see the effects of trusting God right away, trust will begin a process that will grow you and cultivate direction for the purpose of your life. Life will be hard, but hope combats our attackers.
Never give up that hope.
It’s easy to say all of this when life may be going smoothly for you, but when it gets tough and you feel like it’s not worth it, this is the moment when you should never give up. I love the book series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and with the new Netflix show adaptation this was perfect timing. As a kid I read the books as soon as they would come out, always making sure to reserve a copy at the library so I wouldn’t miss out. What I love about the book series is it is a tale of three children who are being hunted by a murderous villain who is after their inheritance. Each book has the children face dire situations and make very fierce decisions that could be life or death. There are moments over and over where they could easily give up, but they take a moment and remember who they are and the gifts that they have. When they remember their identity, they are able to climb any mountain that stands in their way (figuratively and literally). The same is true for each of us, while you may not be chased by a villain trying to kill you, you have an enemy that wants to tell you that you are worthless. We must remember our identity in Christ, we must remember that we are made in God’s image, and we must never give up. 1 John 4:4 says, “You are from God, little children (I love that God calls us his children), and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you than he who is in the world.” We are God’s children and because he has won, we should never give up our hope in him.
In our fears and struggles, live sacred over scared. By simply shifting two letters, we can claim victory over the situations we find ourselves in. Whether it is the stress of the future, similar to my stance on where God is calling me after college, or whether it’s the hardship that came out of nowhere; choose to be sacred. Choose to be connected with God, because he is the source of life. He is the light in this very dark world we live in. Even when it becomes difficult and it may even seem like God isn’t speaking, God is present and he is working in all things. Jeremiah understood this, because even in his great grief, he chose to place hope in Christ. Today I think we all need to place our hope in Christ, because nothing else can save us. Only a great savior who defeated death can give you the confidence to move forward. So trust in him, with ever situation, because in all things God is moving.
Take the step, and become sacred over scared.