How to Overcome Adversity with a Foundation of Hope
It’s amazing to me how often we refer to adversity we face as storms. The metaphor is appropriate because changes in the weather can be unexpected and intense, just like our circumstances. Most of the time medical adversity fits into this stormy category, especially if children are involved. In most cases it’s just not what you plan for or expect. For us, medical adversity was one of the things we least expected as our daughter, Audra, turned one.
We have written before about Jesus being the captain of our storm when challenges hit, but is there anything we can do to prepare for these challenges ahead of time so that we can find hope and overcome? As I was reading in Matthew recently, this verse stood out and made me think back to some of the most difficult seasons we have faced as a family:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
As I was reading, it reminded me of so many of the questions that come up when you see a little one enduring illness. Where is God? Why hasn’t my little girl been healed? How can I find peace while I’m watching this pain? ...
I still don’t have clean and tidy answers to all of these questions, but Mary Beth and I held each one up to the truth of the Gospel and the truth of what we know of God’s character. Each time, He lovingly welcomed our questions and met us with pieces of truth that we could stand on. We found that his presence was closer than we realized and that He wanted to show us His inexplicable peace, strength, and joy.
The space here doesn’t do justice to what we learned in our story, but the truths are profound:
Where are you, God?
I have not and will never leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Why hasn’t my little girl been healed?
I work all things for the good of those who love Me and are called by Me. (Romans 8:28)
How can I find peace while I’m watching this pain?
My peace is beyond anything you could imagine, and I give it freely. (Philippians 4:7)
God never reprimanded us for asking honest, difficult questions. It was as if the Lord wanted us to wrestle with them. Like He was anxious to give us a better understanding of the depth of His character. And what we found is good.
What we found is that so many truths that we had known and studied in the past now came alive with new context. This foundation that we had been setting in God’s word was being tested, and it proved to be solid. Unshakable. Trustworthy.
Looking back now, the most amazing thing about what we’ve been through is that our foundation didn’t weaken in the storm—it got stronger. Even more amazing is that when we seek Him, He helps us lay new bricks of truth, encouragement, and hope. God lets us build on whatever foundation we may have even while we are experiencing the trials.
As someone who faced an incredible amount of difficulty in His life, Paul encourages us to hold onto hope and the goodness of God in our trials:
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
Regardless of what you are going through today, I’d encourage you to dive deep into the Lord’s character and test His truth. He’s inviting you, and and He’s ready to walk by your side. You won’t be disappointed.
Are you looking for a place to start in setting a foundation of hope? You may find our guide on what to pray while your child is in surgery helpful, or you may want to look through our series on prayer.