The truth is that, in every human life, times of joy and sadness follow one another, almost like day and night. It may be, as dark nights help us appreciate daylight more, so too sorrow makes us better appreciate joy.
The trick here on earth is to live through sadness hopefully, so that joy persists even in the presence of sorrow.
This is why, if I were forced to choose the three saddest words in the Bible, I would pick those spoken by the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: We had hoped (Luke 24:21).
How very tragic. When we lose hope, we decide that the task ahead of us is impossible. And when we let go of the prospect of a better tomorrow, we surrender to despair.
But lack of strength and hope is not the end of the story for Christians; instead, it is the starting point to the Spirit-filled life. God did not intend for the Christian life to be lived on our own strength; we are to allow his strength to live in and through us. We have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us (Galatians 2:20).
We aren’t able to love, but Jesus can love through us. We can’t summon the ability to forgive those who have mistreated us horribly, so Jesus forgives through us. The Spirit even prays for us when we can’t summon the words (Romans 8:26). With Jesus living in and through us, there is nothing that is too difficult or impossible.
This fact is reflected in the astonishing promises Jesus made about strength:
What if we really believed that all things were possible and that we had God’s strength within us?
A Prayer for Strength and Hope:
Dear Jesus, dare I hope again, after so many of my hopes have been dashed on the rocks of disappointment? Dare I believe again, even though I am filled with unbelief? Dare I trust in your strength when I feel so very, very weak? Lord, I clearly cannot trust in my own strength to defeat the enemy. So I ask you, mighty Jesus, to be my strength and my shield. I ask you to strengthen me in my inner being and empower me and protect me from the evil one. I can do all things through you, O Christ, as you strengthen me. I ask this in your name. Amen.
Discover more encouraging truths in Praying the Promises of Jesus.