What A Glorious Hope
This is the first post Hannie ever wrote for More Precious, and we are honoured to share it, as her testimony has been a powerful source of hope to so many of our readers already. Here is Hannie's story. Lx
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
Having grown up believing in Jesus and His resurrection for as long as I can remember, this is a verse that simply rolls off the tongue. However, years later, I found that this passage, whilst so easy to offer as a consolation to friends, was much harder to believe in the reality of life.
When I was sixteen, my mum became seriously ill. For the next few years, she was in and out of hospital, and at times family life was unrecognisable. Suddenly, the tidy life that I had envisioned for my future was messy, painful, and uncertain. As the years went on with no healing, I found myself doubting everything I had grown up believing. How could God have good plans for me if this is where He had placed me? How could I ever believe that God had planned a hope for me if all along He had known what was coming?
My process of reconciling all the pain and struggles with faith began where it always should, His Word. I removed my emotions from the equation and looked back at the only place I could find the truth about His character. The Bible tells us:
God is good, and keeps His promises:
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:9)
Every good thing comes from Him:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
He loves us… so much so that He sacrificed His son for us:
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (1 John 4:10)
And all this never changes: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and I believe that what it says is true. Therefore, according to this alone, I must have faith that God is working according to His promises.
Of course, this is so much easier said than done. However, the disparity between His promise and our current circumstances becomes a little clearer when re-reading Jeremiah chapters 28 and 29. To give the scripture some context, against the false prophecy of Hananiah, Jeremiah relays God’s message that the Israelites were to remain exiled in Babylon for 70 years, rather than the two years promised by Hananiah.
It was to this backdrop of suffering and despair that God offered his promise so well-known in Jeremiah 29:11. God did indeed offer a promise that was undeniable and inevitable, but it would not come within the timetable of the Israelites, nor would it come according to the packaging they had requested. Understanding this, I was able to realise that God’s promise of hope and good really had little to do with my understanding of the past few years.
God would keep His promise of providing a hope and a future, but according to my human-processed timetable and specifications? Not likely.
Having said this, God has not simply left me, waiting on an unspecified promise, but has provided for me in ways that I only now understand. Before this, I never really understood the value of church, or how great a blessing it can be. The people in my church have shown a love that really can only be heaven sent, and God is true to His word; at every step He provided. Relationships merely being one example of this.
I have also been forced to face up to the gaps in my faith.
Who knew how easy it was to believe in God and all His entirety when life was easy, compared to when life doesn’t go your way? It took hundreds of sleepless nights, and hours of fear, to really know that God was there. Because it is only when it feels like you have nothing left, nothing to hold on to, do you find yourself really letting go and reaching out to Him and Him alone.
I realised that the injustice I felt towards it all, the innate sense of wrong, was actually God’s way of reminding me that this was not how it was supposed to be. But He has found a way, and that will forever be our hope, even if it I will never fully grasp it until eternity.
So now? Yes, I believe that God has a plan for me: a plan full of hope and a future. Because, after it all, I walk a little closer to God, my faith is a lot more sincere, and I believe that, regardless of whether or not I can understand it, somewhere along the way God was working for the good of those who love Him. For now, that knowledge is enough.
Besides, no matter what happens, my story will ultimately align with His. I bear my cross, knowing that one day I will be clothed in His glory, finally reunited with my God. The world as it was meant to be. What a glorious hope indeed.