Life is filled with many joys, but it can also be filled with many sorrows. A young couple struggling with miscarriage or infertility. The mother of five children, several with special needs, is unexpectedly abandoned by her husband and left to navigate the choppy waters of special-needs parenting alone. A man who spent thirty years of his career pouring into a company is unfairly let go. A young child loses her life to leukemia.
Loss, whether sudden or chronic, can stir up many questions and doubts. It is natural to wonder if there will be any relief to suffering, or to question why God allows hardship to happen. Perhaps we are tempted to fear loss even if we are not currently in a season of loss. If we allow ourselves to dwell on these doubts and questions, our hearts will begin to feel like a hiker lost in the woods without survival gear—lost and forlorn, tempted to fall down and wallow in hopelessness. But giving in to these temptations will only make us feel worse and make the situation feel more overwhelming.
What if I told you there was another way? A different way of thinking that wouldn’t magically remove your suffering, but would help guide your steps as you walk through the valley?
One of my husband’s seminary professors frequently uses the phrase “anchor in what you know” when speaking of hardship and suffering. Rather than spending our energy wondering why and what if, we can focus our attention on what we know to be true. Allow me to share a few examples that have been particularly meaningful to me:
- I have an eternal hope as an heir of God, and should expect some degree of suffering as I follow Christ (Romans 8:16-17)
- God is with me and will strengthen me in the midst of every circumstance (Isaiah 41:10)
- God cares for me deeply and has intimate knowledge of my needs (Matthew 10:29-31)
- Nothing—absolutely nothing—can cause God to stop loving me or love me less (Romans 8:31-39)
- Through God’s grace and Spirit, I can finish this race with my faith firm (Philippians 1:6)
- I can be strong and courageous because God is with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9)
- I can rejoice no matter what the circumstances because I am God’s child and his love endures forever (Psalm 100)
The truth found in the Word of God is a deep well of sweet encouragement and hope. The temptation to let our doubts and questions dictate our attitudes and daily decisions can be overwhelming. But, I firmly believe that the more time we spend meditating on Scripture and truths in its pages, our attitudes and daily decisions will begin to reflect an eternal hope rather than a paralyzing fear.
I pray that today you find yourself “anchoring in what you know,” regardless of what your day might hold. If you have any other Scriptures or ways that you anchor in the truth, I would love to know—so please share in the comments below!
Ali Howard is a Baylor University graduate who has engaged in full-time, nonprofit work since 2011. She joined the Joni and Friends team in January 2015, and serves as the Senior Coordinator of Volunteer Services. She also acts as the content editor for the Irresistible Church blog and books.