Devotions

When You Aren’t Sure if You Can See Good Again

September 6, 2021
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you …” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)
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Over coffee the other day, I listened to a tearful young woman talk to me about some of her hurtful church experiences.

Twenty years ago, our stories were so similar I could have been her.

I know what it’s like to love something so much it holds the power to break your heart. I, too, have believed in something that disappointed me to the point I once felt betrayed and jaded. In the heart of this pastor’s kid, only time, counseling, and mostly Jesus have healed the hurt places and restored a new and different, yet deeper, love for the Church.

For some of us, our pain’s history comes from a different place: grief from the death of someone we love … a painful relationship betrayal … a wearying, ongoing internal battle. None of us are immune to life’s hard things.

And then there has been this global pandemic, which has brought with it a level of weariness, doubt, disillusionment and despair a lot of us have never before known. It has us longing to believe again, hope again, and see good in our lives and this world again.

But can I suggest something that has helped me through the years and different hard circumstances?

If you are feeling powerless to change your circumstances and struggle to have a hopeful perspective, ask God to help you move from “what if” to “what is”… and from “what was” to “what now.”

These shifts in focus are not only change agents in our heart and mind, but they are also life-altering biblical ideas.

“What if” is a place we are often stuck in — a defeating, repeating pattern of questions without good answers that hinders our ability to move forward in life.

“What is” becomes a focal shift to the realities at hand; the possibilities that still exist; the hope we are afforded as believers; and the promise of heaven, the ultimate, evergreen prize.

“What was” is a place we often revert to and dwell in unnecessarily, rehashing painful things in our history, living in regret and resentment.

“What now” becomes our powerful new perspective for each and every day, which brings a new level of positivity, hope and peace.

Friend, what happened to you wasn’t necessarily fair. It wasn’t right. It certainly wasn’t what you wanted.

But what can God do with your life now? Where can you find joy? What remains that can be used for eternal purposes?

Do you, in fact, believe that God has the power to enlighten the eyes of your heart to give you hope again, as Paul prays in our key verse?

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you …” (Ephesians 1:18, emphasis added)

Is it possible that the One powerful enough to create you and love you through this hardship could also be powerful enough to help you see good again in its aftermath?

Yes.

I know you’ve been hurt. And oh, how this world is imperfect and hurtful. Yet, even with that being true, I hold tight to the promises that God still has good for us. Even in the hurt. Even despite the hurt. Even today.

For me and for you.

Dear Jesus, give us eyes to see the good again. Help us to see good in our life and in people. Most of all, help us see and know of Your goodness that we might long to serve You more and more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

OUR FAVORITE THINGS

For more helpful ways to restore hope in your life after hard seasons, grab a copy of Lisa Whittle’s latest book, The Hard Good: Showing Up for God to Work in You When You Want to Shut Down (foreword by Lysa TerKeurst).

For a great companion study on this topic and on how God wants to use hard seasons in your life, grab a copy of Lisa Whittle’s Bible study The Hard Good: Showing Up When You Want to Shut Down, a study of 1 Samuel (Kings Saul and David).

ENGAGE

Connect with Lisa by visiting her website, listening to her podcast, following her on Instagram or Facebook, or becoming a friend through her “LW Friends” email list!

Enter to WIN your very own copy of The Hard Good by Lisa Whittle. To celebrate this book, Lisa’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, September 13, 2021.}

FOR DEEPER STUDY

Philippians 3:13-14, “… Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (NLT)

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (NIV)

How would your life change if you went from “what if” to “what is” … and from “what was” to “what now”?

What is one practical way you can move forward from a hard circumstance today — making progress from yesterday? Let us know in the comments!

© 2021 by Lisa Whittle. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks W Publishing Group for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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