Holding Onto Hope in Hard Times

(Photo: Unsplash)

Sometimes stepping out into a new year as a book of blank pages feels intimidating. While we anticipate new and exciting experiences, apprehension of new hardships lingers in the background. Even as a new year infuses us with expectation, thoughts of holding onto Hope in Hard times tinges our enthusiasm with doubt.

Though facing the new beginning of a new year with God should fill us with confident Hope, we wonder when the hard times hit, if He will be enough.

We live in a fallen, broken world. Relationships end, health fails, jobs and finances dwindle; we know 2023 holds trials, but the uncertainty of the “how” and “when” keep us fearful. Holding onto Hope in hard times is something we all desire but feel skeptical we can accomplish.

hard times are certain

In some ways, despite our desire of forgetting what lay behind in the previous year and looking intently at a new beginning, (Philippians 3:13-14) we sail into a new year on the same wave which carried us out of the old one.

Opening my eyes on January first seldom finds me with a brand-new mindset and future compared to the one possessed when closing my eyes on December 31st.

A tick of the clock and a turning of the calendar page actually change very little.

Yet how many times the thought, “everything will be different this year” surfaces with a glance at the new calendar year?

blank weekly planner open with notebook and mug of coffee

As if certainty of success rested with a new beginning.

We all experience the same pang of disappointment with the first hard stop of the new year, as we realize facing hard times becomes one of the few certainties of the new year.

holding onto hope in hard times

If facing hard times becomes one of the few certainties of a new year, then holding onto Hope emerges as the only sure route for bearing those trials well.

The only way of holding onto true Hope rests in holding onto the God of Hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

For only then can we find joy and peace in the midst of the hard paths we encounter in 2023.

As I face the uncertainty of a recent health crisis and the unknowns of waiting, further testing, and consultations, I look to these five unshakeable reasons for holding onto the God of Hope in the hard times I face.

Hope in God’s Good Plans

Always good, God’s plans for me have an expected end. Designed to continue conforming me to the image of Christ, they also build deeper intimacy with Him. (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:29).

purple mug of coffee on table amid sweaters and pine cones

When tempted to see the hard paths as punishment or God’s indifference, I safely rest in God’s good and perfect plans for me.

Hope in God’s Abundant Goodness

Lavishing His abundant goodness upon me as His child delights my Heavenly Father. Not just a few blessings, but abundant blessings remain stored up for all who love and fear God. (Psalm 31:19)

Remembering God’s infinite goodness stored up for me, I can view the hard places as times of blessing rather than times of scarcity.

Hope in God’s Purpose

God never acts without purpose or plan. Though His ways are not my ways, His purpose for me in every path He chooses will always be fulfilled. (Psalm 138:8, Isaiah 55:8-11, Romans 8:28)

No matter how painful or frustrating my trials seem, I rest in God’s good purpose in them and His promise to fulfill all His will for me.

Hope in God’s Presence

woman walking on snow covered road

Promising never to leave me, God also goes before me into every trial. Nothing I face in the coming year will be apart from God’s Presence. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

When the path seems dark and lonely, I have only to lean into God’s Presence for all fear and discouragement to flee.

Hope in God’s Unfailing Love

Eternally steadfast in His love, God promises His unfailing love will never depart, nor His covenant of peace remove from my life. (Isaiah 54:10)

Though my world turns upside down, or others choose to stop loving me, God’s unfailing love remains lavished upon me.

holding onto god in hard times

Truly, holding onto Hope in hard times, means holding tightly to the God of Hope.

Yes, a new year brings wonderful new possibilities and the certainty of encountering hard paths. But trusting in God’s perfect plans, goodness, purpose, presence, and unfailing love, breathes Hope into our hearts infusing every situation with God’s perfect Peace.

Ultimately, we can confidently face the future of a new year knowing nothing we face will ever separate us from the love of our faithful Heavenly Father. (Romans 8:38-39)

tell his story link up

I am thrilled to be the new host of Tuesday’s Tell His Story Link up! Jeanne Takenaka and I share the link up on alternate weeks, with Jeanne hosting the first and third Tuesdays, as well as the occasional fifth Tuesday, and my hosting the second and fourth Tuesdays!

Each week we gather here as storytellers, word weavers, and encouragers to make His name known. Our story is God’s story and this small corner of the blogging world, where we come together each Tuesday, needs you.

This is a place where poetry, snapshots, prayers, and stories find a safe spot to nod in agreement that what we have to say matters. I am glad you are here and would love to have you join the #TellHisStory community!

Click over here to read more about the #TellHisStory community and find a button to add to your site.

Let’s Link Up!

  1. Write your own #TellHisStory post, straight from your heart onto your own blog.
  2. Link up and invite your friends by posting the #TellHisStory badge onto your own blog (Find it on the Tell His Story page).
  3. Enter your post each Tuesday at 7:00 AM EST when the link-up opens by clicking the blue link button. Be sure you link to a specific post, not your entire blog page.  
  4. For each link you post, visit one or two neighbors and leave your own encouragement. And, maybe visit other sites as well and leave a little love. Sharing on social media is always appreciated. Use the hashtag #TellHisStory so others can find us.
  5. This linkup is intended to be a place where people can find encouragement and community rather than having a primary purpose to sell products. Please link posts that focus first on encouraging readers.