Every day, our teams encounter destitution and desperation. The needs of Calcutta are blatant, but hardship is not limited to a lack of possessions. Often, challenges begin in our heart.
While you may never know what it's like to skip a meal for lack of resources, we have all walked in seasons where feeding our spirit felt nearly impossible. The majority of us will sleep in a bed tonight, but our minds will find it difficult to rest through the week.
But we've got some good news.
You can get your hope's up......and keep them there.
Every situation of your life deserves the chance to be lifted on the shoulders of great expectation. Our President, Dr. Randy Valimont, has three ways to help you bolster them up.
1. Face the Facts. Know the Truth.
The Gospel gives us the reality of hope, but situations bring us face to face with feelings severely opposed to this solid foundation. It is okay to have challenging facts. It is okay to admit the situation doesn't seem to be in your favor. Daniel did not go into lion's den confessing that there were no animals, but he did go with faith that God is Who He promises to be, and He will do what He's promised to do: never leave, never forsake, and uphold us with His right hand.
The difference between facts and truth is simple: facts will change, Truth does not. This means that in the midst of temporary struggle, a joyful Truth is worth grabbing onto. Don't let go of it. Facts never get the final word. With the peace of God on your side, wait for every situation to be turned around, knowing that God will not waste a moment of where you're at today.
2. Deal With Your Fear and Anxiety.
Faith begins as a seed we chose to plant. With time and nourishment, it springs through the ground and offers a fruit our souls can feast on. Fear works the same way. We plant it, we feed it, and it crowds out our joy.
Usually, hopelessness kicks in because we are afraid of certain outcomes, not because we are waiting for an answer. It's the presence of fear, not the need of patience, that drives our anxiety through the roof. You may think you feel hopeless about a situation, but people rarely lose heart over a single thing. We feel hopeless because we've fed a variety of worries that have finally crowded out our trust and faith.
Even if the situation were to change today, another challenge would quickly arise shaking our stability once more. It's deeper than circumstance; it's a matter of what we've planted.
We can't uproot these monsters on our own, and we don't have to. Peter reminds us to "cast our care on God because He cares for us." He will not only deal with the patterns of worry we have created, but He will tend to the faith we have left, making it stronger and sturdier in even the hardest of times.
Science itself proves that our minds are hardwired to lean into a negative bias. Even more, the way we think will determine the actions we take in reflex situations. Our thoughts train our internal and external responses. God knew this when He inspired the author of Proverbs to remind readers that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is."
Prayer is not a self-help plan. It is not tricking yourself into believing something or latching onto a false reality. Prayer is a process of not only tending to our relationship with a heavenly Father but an invitation to have our minds re-programmed. Instead of focusing on the what if's, I have to focus on promises. Instead of analyzing the situation, we have to remind our hearts of God's track record.
It's possible to stop translating the world through a broken, finite perspective. Instead, pray your way into peace and assurance. Speak with God until your heart is at rest.