Bags more hope

We really hope you’ve enjoyed Bags of Hope! We invite you to dig deeper into what the Bible says about hope. As we walk through life, and as we read the Bible, big questions come up. Perhaps, as you’ve gone through the activities each day, some of these questions have surfaced for you. Fortunately, the Bible has some really big answers!

Perhaps you’ve read the Bible a lot. Perhaps you’ve never read it. Wherever we are with God and the Bible, we hope that this will be helpful to you. We’ve picked out a few of the big themes we’ve been looking at in Bags of Hope, and for each, we’ve listed some short Bible verses that say something about them.

Finding comfort when we are troubled

Life can be wonderful. But life can also be difficult. The troubles we experience, the pain we feel, the losses we grieve – all of these are consequences, the Bible tells us, of humanity turning away from God. This is not how it was meant to be. But it is, for now, how things are. The Bible tells us that suffering is a reality in a broken world. The Bible is full of passages that encourage us to bring all our troubles to God, and to experience the comfort that God’s presence and power brings to our lives:

God, you see the problems of people in trouble.
You take note of their pain. You do something about it.
Psalm 10:14

You will pass through deep waters.
But I will be with you.
You will pass through the rivers.
But their waters will not sweep over you.
You will walk through fire.
But you will not be burned.
The flames will not harm you.
Isaiah 43:2

Trust in him at all times, you people.
Tell him all your troubles.
Psalm 62:8

Don’t worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Ask and pray, and give thanks to him. Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds.
Philippians 4:6-7

Keeping going when life is tough

When life is difficult, what is it that keeps us going? The Bible tells us that God is with us in all the circumstances of life. Crucially, the Bible says that God is not only present in our troubles – he is actively working through them. We are not alone in our suffering and our suffering is not without purpose. Our great example in suffering and difficulty is Jesus. Jesus has gone before us: living this life, suffering death, and experiencing, wonderfully, resurrection. Following Jesus means suffering, yes. But our hope is that suffering will give way to life.

Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the one who started this journey of faith. And he is the one who completes the journey of faith. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. He made it through these attacks by sinners. So think about him. Then you won’t get tired. You won’t lose hope.
Hebrews 12:2-3

My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. Your faith will be tested. You know that when this happens it will produce in you the strength to continue.
James 1:2-3

Our troubles are small. They last only for a short time. But they are earning for us a glory that will last forever. It is greater than all our troubles.
2 Corinthians 4:17

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But be encouraged! I have won the battle over the world.”
John 16:33

Sustaining hope when life is painful

When life is painful, what is it we are hoping for? For the Christian, the ultimate hope is new life in a new heavens and earth. We may live in a world gone wrong. But the Bible tells us that, because of Jesus, we – and the whole of creation – are being made new. The Bible gives us stunning visions of God’s great purpose – which is being worked out in the details of our lives and our world – on which to set our hearts and sustain our hope.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being sure of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God. Believe in me also. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If this were not true, would I have told you that I am going there? Would I have told you that I would prepare a place for you there? If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me. Then you will also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
John 14:1-4

I saw “a new heaven and a new earth.” The first heaven and the first earth were completely gone. There was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem. It was coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Look! God now makes his home with the people. He will live with them. They will be his people. And God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death.’ And there will be no more sadness. There will be no more crying or pain. Things are no longer the way they used to be.”
Revelation 21:1-4

prayers

The Bible is full of prayers. The prayers below encourage us to be honest with God about how we feel and model for us how we can bring our lives before God and ask him for help. 

My faithful God,
answer me when I call out to you.
Give me rest from my trouble.
Have mercy on me. Hear my prayer.
Psalm 4:1

There are more troubles all around me than I can count.
My sins have caught up with me, and I can’t see any longer.
My sins are more than the hairs of my head.
I have lost all hope.
Lord, please save me.
Lord, come quickly to help me.
Psalm 40:12-13

I’m in pain. I’m in deep trouble.
God, save me and keep me safe.
Psalm 69:29

Lord, in the morning you hear my voice.
In the morning I pray to you.
I wait for you in hope.

Psalm 5:3

Jesus taught his disciples to pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
may your name be honored.
May your kingdom come.
May what you want to happen be done
on earth as it is done in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
just as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.
Keep us from sinning when we are tempted.
Save us from the evil one.”
Matthew 6:9-13

All scripture references are from the NIrV.

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