Grow Deep - Anchored Hope Edition Week 4

Week 4: May 5-11

Anchored Hope in Times of Suffering and Grief

Memory Verse: “… Do not grieve like the rest of mankind who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13b-14

In Proverbs 13:12 Solomon writes, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Hope is the expectation that strengthens and sustains the heart. But when what we “expect” or hope for is delayed, it can make the heart sick. I can recall times in the past when my heart was hurting, and I was heartsick in my grief. I was looking at my circumstances, looking at myself, feeling sorry and sad. In spite of the realness of my grief, I look back and know that my mind and my eyes were often zeroed in on the “now” of my pain and were not anchored in the hope of eternity with Jesus.

Solomon’s Proverbs— and indeed the entirety of Scripture— are true. And this verse doesn’t end with deferred hope. Solomon says that when our expectation is ultimately fulfilled, it satisfies our deepest longings. It is a “tree of life.”

There isn’t a person on earth who hasn’t experienced suffering and grief in some way. I could spend pages outlining the different ways we experience those things. But again, that would miss the point … that we have hope in our suffering and grief because of Jesus. The Bible says Jesus is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. It also says He was fully man, so He understands our human experiences firsthand. Our suffering and grief are not lost on Him. He brings us His compassion, comfort, peace, and even healing. Without these powerful ways that Jesus comes to us, we would be hopeless in our circumstances. Our hearts get sick because our hope appears to be deferred. But He is our hope, so the story— our story— ends with hope fulfilled … life eternal … the “tree of life.”

Hang onto Jesus; He is our undeferred hope now and forevermore!

Sunday, May 5
Read: Job 8:11-13
Those who have forgotten God or don’t know Him have no hope in times of suffering.
Reflect: What is the connection to or reminder of anchored hope in these verses? How can you share that hope with the “godless”?

Monday, May 6

Read: Romans 8:18-27
Suffering in this world does not compare with the future glory of those whose hope is in Christ. Hope impacts the way we react to our suffering and how we pray.
Reflect: Scripture tells us to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have. Share that reason with someone. Can you describe what you hope for? How does hope impact your reaction to suffering?

Tuesday, May 7

Read: 1 Peter 1:3-13
Peter calls his listeners to live their lives in the hope of the final outcome of their faith: salvation through Christ.
Reflect: What is the point of suffering and/or grief? How does your suffering and grief drive you closer to Jesus? How can suffering and grief become an obstacle in your relationship with Him?

Wednesday, May 8

Read: Romans 8:35-39
The love of God in Christ gives us hope to be more than conquerors through every time of trial and suffering … even death.
Reflect: Consider what it means to be “more than a conqueror.” How does this Scripture embolden you? Post what it means to you to be “more than a conqueror” on Facebook. Invite others to enter into a Facebook conversation with you.

Thursday, May 9

Read: John 16:20-22
We will experience grief and pain in this world, but our grief will turn to joy that cannot be taken away because of the hope we have in Christ.
Reflect: Think about a time when your grief turned to joy. Share that experience with someone.

Friday, May 10

Read: Nehemiah 8:10-12
The joy of the Lord grows out of His covenant love for us and His forgiveness. In times of grief and suffering, our hope in Christ spurs us on to joyfully anticipate life eternal in the future.
Reflect: How would you describe or tell someone that the joy of the Lord is your strength? What does it mean to you? How does that give you hope in times of grief and despair?

Saturday, May 11

Read: Psalm 62:5-8
Hope that provides refuge from suffering and death comes only from God. He is the Rock and Fortress that holds us steady in the storm.
Reflect: List the many words used in this passage to describe God’s relationship with His people. How does your relationship demonstrate that He is your Refuge and Rock. How do these verses give you hope in times of suffering and grief?