The seventh reflection in a series, “Hope to See Us Through,” by the Rev. Terry Elsberry.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’”—Jeremiah 29:11
We read the Bible for many reasons. A key reason we should be reading it in these anxious and uncertain times is to discover in its pages the promises God makes to us.
I remember as a little boy standing between my parents in church while all the adults towering around me were singing an old hymn that caught my attention even at such an early age.
The title of the hymn: “Standing on the Promises.” The words refer to the promises God makes to His people in His Word, the Bible.
These promises are there to encourage us, to offer us hope, to give is assurance that whatever happens the Lord is with us.
God intends for us to make concrete use of His Word, to take advantage of the power for living He offers us here.
What I offer here are a handful of lessons that apply to where many of us are in our lives today. There are many more. Sit with your Bible. Ask God to show you what He has for you day by day.
When particular verses speak to you, read them more than once. If necessary, to make them come alive for you, read them aloud. Apply them to the situation you’re experiencing. Picture yourself and your need of the moment in each individual lesson. Make them prayers. The concept of what’s known as “Praying the Scriptures” is an ancient and valuable spiritual discipline. Pray the scriptures that speak to you. And you’ll find yourself spiritually strengthened, renewed, invigorated. You’ll also be equipped by God–through the power of His Word–to be His overcomer now, during this pandemic, and all through your life.
WHEN YOU’RE FEELING ANXIOUS, READ:
Philippians 4:6,7 | “Be anxious for nothing. But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 25:16-18 | “Turn to me, O Lord, and be gracious to me; for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart, and bring me out of my distress.”
“Thou will keep them in perfect peace whose minds are stayed on thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)
WHEN DEPRESSED READ:
Psalm 34:15 | “The righteous call to the Lord, and he listens; he rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope.”
WHEN YOU NEED STRENGTH READ:
Isaiah 40:29-31 | “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and the young shall fall exhausted. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary.”
WHEN CONCERNED ABOUT FINANCES READ:
Philippians 4:119 | “My God shall meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
WHEN LONELY READ:
Psalm 25:1-2 | “Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. Let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me.” (16-17) “O my God I trust in thee. Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distress.”
WHEN SICK READ:
Psalm 103:1-5 | “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits. Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion. Who satisfies your years with good things; So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
FOR PEACE OF MIND READ:
John 14:27 | “Jesus said, ‘I leave you peace; my peace I give to you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. So let not your hearts be troubled or afraid.’”
TO KNOW GOD’S HELP FOR US IN TIMES OF TROUBLE READ:
Psalm 46:1-4 | “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea.”
TO FEEL HOPEFUL READ:
Psalm 16:8-9 | “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body also shall rest in hope.”
I could go on. Practical application scriptures are woven throughout the Bible. When you start reading the Bible looking for words of hope, comfort and encouragement you’ll find these promises and many more.
As we read in Second Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen to the glory of God through us.”
And in Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who has promised is faithful.”
Yes. Our God is faithful. And never have we needed Him—and His promises–as a nation, as a people and as individuals more than we need them now.