Hope for the Hard Places

Are you feeling stuck in a hard place without a way out? I know friend, I’ve been there too. Why does it drain us so much to be stuck between a rock and a hard place? It’s like a tiredness, a restlessness like none other. I know if we are not careful, hopelessness can suck the life out of us quicker than anything else. When not dealt with God’s way it can really can be draining and overwhelming— overtaking life even to the point of extreme hopelessness. 

But, friend, we do not live like those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We have the source of all HOPE, Jesus Christ Himself, living within us, strengthening us, giving us grace for the day— for every moment to come.

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

I don’t know about you, but I have this picture in my mind of “hope”. It’s innocent, lovely, graceful, perhaps even appearing flowery, light, beautiful. But really that’s not an accurate picture of hope. No, hope is strong, like an immoveable large boulder–the ones you have to dodge on the most intense of hikes. Nothing is going to move that rock from its location. It’s solid, sure, stable, held fast. Not so different from the ROCK that we are instructed to build our lives on in Matthew 7:24-27.

When built upon the Rock, no matter what comes we are able to withstand it because our hope and our lives are built on Him! So “hope”— instead of being some flowery wonderful, pretty thing— is actually earthy, solid, strong and movable. If only we could reprogram our minds to think of hope this way. So when Jesus offers us hope it’s a solid place to stand. Yahweh offers us a future that’s good. He offers us his hand to hold.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 

So if you feel like you’re stuck, and there’s no way out, what can you do? What should you focus on? What should you look to? 

First of all, I want to encourage you you’re not going to be stuck here forever. Things are going to change. Things are going to shift. Just like the passing of a river over the rocks or the passing of clouds in the sky— life, situations, and seasons will change. It is a guaranteed promise!

While “change” often times isn’t welcomed, we can take hope from the fact that most definitely change happens. So you will shift from this moment, these troubles, this feeling of being stuck (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). 

Second, can you change a dance step? I know when I was feeling stuck, I was given advice… change a dance step! What does that mean?  Let me do my best to explain: 

 I’ve been taking dance classes with my daughter. We’ve been learning the waltz, the foxtrot, the promenade and read more recently swing dancing. If you see me in person, don’t ask me on demand to do these things. 😉 I’m still learning!

In all these dance classes I’m learning that it doesn’t take much to change up a dance. In the foxtrot there is a step we call  “change your mind” where you do a front step, back step, and shift to the side. It’s a helpful step if getting too close to the wall or if wanting to change direction. If I decide to incorporate that dance step, we will still be doing the foxtrot, but will be changing our direction.

So as you can see here, even just one small step change, changes the whole direction of the dance. So, that place you’ve been stuck in— perhaps even starting to feel pressed against a tight spot— even just one step, one “change your mind” step, will cause you a new freedom, a new direction. I want to encourage you you can change your dance. If you’re feeling stuck— Change one step. I know that we long for a HUGE change— we long for a deep freedom and a release from where we feel stuck— but it all starts with one step. One step can lead to a great crumbling of the wall around us.

Often changes come about one step at a time, not a great change all at once.

I encourage you to make one “change your mind” step in your current life this week. Ask God to help you with changing one detail this week in your regular lifestyle.

It can be a simple thing such as: choosing to speak with kindness, driving a different way home, reaching out to a friend, or taking a brave new step with a hobby or being involved in a church group. Or maybe it is other little things like eating at a new restaurant or venturing out on a different vacation or finding a way to invest money in a Kingdom project supporting church projects, missionaries, or Christian orphanage ministries. A “change your mind” step really can be quite anything!

God is the ultimate dance master. He’s the one who sees us, knows us, loves us and He’s the One with great plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He’s leading us in a beautiful dance for our lives.

Sometimes the way He delivers us to this new place of freedom is by helping us change one dance step at a time. You may hear His whisper, feel a prompting in your heart, or be inspired as you read the Word.

Act on those little nudges God gives your heart. In doing so, it will offer you space— freedom. The wall won’t press against your back, and you begin to have some wiggle room. When we choose to follow His promptings it breeds new ground for more change. The more you change a step here and there, the more the dance changes until before you know it you are dancing a completely unknown and different dance of freedom for your soul that you have never danced before!

“He will bring us by a way we did not know. He will lead us in paths we have not known. He will make darkness LIGHT before us and crooked places straight.”

Isaiah 42:16 

So friend, be strong. Don’t give up. Take courage. He is here and He is good. He is watching over you. He is whispering to you:

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”   

Isaiah 30:21

Things will not stay the same. That’s a guarantee.

Just as the seasons change your situation is going to change. Take hope dear friend— and remember real hope is not that flowery light wimpy hope but that rock solid, deep, earth kind of hope that is based on God and His Word. God is changing your season even if it is just one little dance step at a time. Be faithful to follow him in the small things and before you know it You will be free from those stuck place. Yes, you will be dancing a new dance and walking in a new season, free from the places that kept you trapped and stuck. Hold onto His hope!

Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19

Until next time,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: