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Hold Out for Hope {Focus on Jesus}

Over the last week, I’ve been listening to the audio version of a memoir about a girl who was kidnapped at age eleven and was sexually, mentally, and emotionally abused for nearly two decades. It’s a tough, tough read, and it broke my heart from the first chapter. I’ve got less than half the book to go, and I’m sure it will continue to be an emotional read for me.

 
The thing about stories like hers is that they are often robbed of hope.
 
When a person has been kidnapped and/or abused for years and years on end, it’s incredibly difficult to keep holding out for hope. Everything seems dark, lonely, and painful.
 
Even if you’ve never been abused in such a brutal, destructive way, I’m sure we can all relate to feelings of loneliness or hopelessness or despair. Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, and sometimes it seems downright cruel to us. In those moments, hope is extremely hard to find and even harder to hold on to.
 
That’s where Bible study comes into play, at least for me.
 
Digging into the Bible provides me with hope, because it reveals the Heavenly home — that blessed Promised Land — I’ll eventually have since I’ve asked Jesus into my heart as my Savior. Through the stories of Caleb, Ruth, Esther, Jesus Himself, Peter, Paul, and many others, I see how holding out for hope is possible even in the most difficult of circumstances. I see how the light at the end of the dark tunnels of life is the hope of Heaven and eternal life in Jesus Christ. In every Bible story, there are reminders that God has good plans for me, plans to give me a future and a hope (see Jeremiah 29:11-13, shown below).
 
That’s one of the things I’m most enjoying about my Scripture memory work in these recent weeks: the hope I find in each word of the verses I’m learning.
 
My prayer is that those who find themselves in situations that are abusive will hold on to hope and keep trying to find a way to escape their current and destructive situation. Never give up, because God has a good plan for a future and a hope for you.
 
“For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11-13 HCSB ~
 
Note: If you or someone you know is being abused (sexually, physically, mentally, or emotionally), please talk to a trusted adult about it. Whether this is a parent, teacher, doctor, psychologist, police officer, fire fighter, mentor, or friend, please take that first step to find help and healing.
 
***
 
It’s time to choose our next Bible verse to memorize.
 
What will it be for you?
 
My next verse will continue the same encouraging theme of forgiveness and hope in Jesus as my previous verses. To fully understand this verse, I’m going to share a bit of context (which will also be a sneak peek at what verse is coming up next for me in a couple of weeks).
 
My current verse:
 
In context:
 
“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
~Romans 14:7-8 HCSB ~
 
So far, I’ve built up a foundation of verses that speak to repenting of one’s sins and accepting forgiveness and finding joy in that journey. The verses above add depth to this memory work journey for me, because they declare that my very life and death are in God’s hands and that my life’s journey is completely for Him. That speaks hope and confidence into my heart.
 
***
Time to chat!
 
What connection do your verses have to each other?
 
What sort of journey do you see unfolding as you look at your verses as a whole collection, building up power and strength and confidence in the Lord within your heart?
 
How do you find hope in the dark times of life?
 
How does digging into the Scriptures help renew your hope and help you hold on to it with an iron grip?

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