In 8th grade I was confirmed in the Lutheran church. One step in this process was to choose a lifelong Bible verse. Psalm 23:4 became my verse.
If you fast forward to high school my family was going through a lot. My mom moved out of state with her husband and my sister, my dad moved away to get off of some pretty hard drugs, and my grandma was really focused on helping a loved one who was in prison in Mexico. It all felt like a Lifetime movie.
Those years were really dark for me. I felt neglected, unwanted, unimportant, and really depressed. It truly was a dark valley I walked through. There was no hope for my mom coming back. My dad came back but left again leaving another, deeper wound. And the weekends traveling to Mexico took a toll on my friendships and my relationship with my grandma. I saw no end in sight and no hope that things were going to go back to normal or even a new normal.
The worst part of it all was that I didn’t have Christ. I had a psychiatrist with medication but I had no true hope. I had no idea how to take my anger, frustration, and depression and give them up. I didn’t know I could leave them with Christ. I had no one to comfort me.
If only I was reading His word, praying to Him, and listening to Him, I would have found the hope and security I was looking for for so long. Instead, I leaned on my own understandings and focused on only what I could see: the lack of hope, the dark valley, and the lack of light on the other side.
Now, even though Christ has changed my heart, I still have trials. I still have really deep valleys and really dark times that I go through. I’m in one right now! But God has made me to trust in Him more fully and I no longer have to be worried or concerned because God’s rod and staff comfort me. I now repeat specific verses, like my lifelong Bible verse, and they help to regain perspective.
If you are struggling with a trial, fear not! Rest in His words and he will guide you. I know this because He has promised this over and over again. Here are some of my favorite hopeful and encouraging verses:
- Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all (Psalm 34:19).
- And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10).
- Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12).
- Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).
- I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
- The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent (Exodus 14:14).
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:2-8).
- For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).
- Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Peter 4:12).
- Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
And these are only some! The pages of the Bible are filled with God fighting for his people and restoring them. Be encouraged; take heart!