Becoming a Christian does not make a person immune to troubles, distress, sorrow, sickness, and suffering. However, throughout history Christians have been able to face these difficulties with an unshakeable hope. Below are four aspects of Christian hope.
Healing from Sin
By healing from sin we do not mean that Christians are currently sinless. We do mean that the healing has begun and is sure to be completed in those who believe. Through His death, burial, and resurrection Jesus Christ has satisfied the wrath of God against our sins. Through repentant faith in Him we have complete forgiveness and a right standing before God. This is not a matter of human achievement or merit but of grace in the form of a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). This gives us peace and the ability to rejoice in hope (confident expectation) that we will one day be in God's presence forever.
"Therefore being justified [declared righteous] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." -Romans 5:1-2
Outlook on Life
The Bible is God's Word to humanity and thus it provides light in the darkness (Psalm 119:130). By the light of God's Word we gain a new outlook on life. This perspective involves the truths:
- Sorrow and suffering entered the world because of man's sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).
- God is wisely governing over the affairs of this broken world even if we do not understand what He is doing (Romans 11:33).
- God is able to use our circumstances for our spiritual good so that our difficulties have purpose and meaning (Romans 8:28).
- God will be with us to sustain and help us in the midst of our sufferings (Psalm 46:1-3).
While the Bible does not answer every question we might have regarding the difficulty of human suffering, it does provide us with enough perspective to give us hope.
Prayer with Faith
Christians understand that prayer is a great privilege to be exercised during times of difficulty. Many of the Psalms are cries to God in distress (Psalm 61; 64; 102). Even our Lord Jesus prayed in the darkness of his impending suffering as a sacrifice for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). In prayer we can ask for deliverance believing that God has the power to remove our difficulties (Isaiah 50:2). We can also pray for grace, strength, and comfort, believing that if God does not remove us from our trials, He has the power to sustain us in them and teach us lessons for our good and His glory (II Corinthians 12:7-9). Above all, we can pray that God would use the difficulties we face to magnify His great name so that more people would come to Him in faith (Matthew 6:9).
Endurance with Perspective
As Christians, we do not have starry-eyed notions of a utopian existence in the present brokenness. We know that life after our rebellion in the Garden of Eden has its share of pain, sorrow, sickness, and suffering. However, we endure these by the help of God. God has given us His Spirit and each other (the church) to sustain us. One thing that helps us endure is the perspective that God will ultimately restore the heavens and earth (II Peter 3:12-13; Revelation 21:1). He will make a new one in which there will be no more troubles and trials. There will be a Heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, filled with peace, joy, and pleasure (Revelation 21-22). In that day God will "wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4). The darkness will not last forever. There is light at the end of the tunnel...and for those who are saved by Christ, that light is the eternal glory of God's presence.