Friday, June 9, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Finding hope when you're in a dark time

Finding Hope in Dark Times
A devotional by Tema Banner

“For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.”
–Proverbs 23:18 (NKJV)

Some places I drive to in my hometown make me want to bawl my eyes out.

I had a charming, kindhearted, blue-eyed son whose mischievousness got him into hot water with his parents and teachers more than once in his youth. In elementary school, he was known to charm the little girls into doing his classwork, and old ladies in the grocery store could not resist his winsome smile and pleading eyes for fifty cents for a candy bar—much to his mother’s chagrin. Like his grandmother, Steven made friends with everyone he met and never had qualms about asking for directions or help to find items in the store.

That same personality put him in contact with some he should have given a wide berth. Since he chose not to, many years were spent in courtrooms, rehab clinics, hospitals, and eventually, an early rest in the cemetery. During those years of highs and lows, the Lord gave me hope through this scripture (Proverbs 23:18). The first time I read this verse it was in the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, which reads: “There is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” I was convinced it meant Steven would overcome his addictions and be a powerful witness to others.

Standing by his grave, I was disappointed, confused, and a little mad. Other parents’ children had overcome, why had my son not? And what about the hope I was promised? Then I read the New King James Version (NKJV) of this scripture and the word “hereafter” jumped off the page. It was beautiful proof of God’s living word and His gentle reminder that Steven’s life will continue with Him. Because Steven had accepted God’s Son (Jesus Christ) as his Lord and Savior, I knew he had a future hope that did not end in that cemetery with a dash that indicates a life way too short. And because of my faith in God, I know I’ll see him again in Heaven.

The many places that I drive in this city bring reminders of my time with Steven. They are a mix of memories that make me smile and others with a depth of sadness that squeezes my heart and makes me want to cry—sometimes I do. But more often, I see the lives that were touched by my blue-eyed boy and the faithfulness of the God we serve.

There are times in all our lives when we face battles, sorrow, and hardships. We seek deliverance and I have seen miracles and answers to prayers that are everything prayed for, but I’ve also seen times when the answer is no. I recognize in those moments that we live in a fallen world that is often harsh. I encourage you to know that even in hard times, God is still good and He loves you.

Let’s Pray: Father God, thank You for Your faithfulness. In our times of distress and doubt, Your Word is ever present to encourage and remind us that You are in control. Help us to remember that You have good plans for your children. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: "God Loves You" by Jaci Velasquez. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Writing stories that take the reader on a journey of discovery into a deeper relationship with God through His Son (Jesus Christ), has been a lifelong goal for Tema. She enjoys history and continues honing her knowledge of history and writing skills to create those stories.

God is her guiding light and the reason for every endeavor in her life. She is a member of the South Carolina ACFW chapter as well as a former member of her local RWA chapter, Carolina Romance Writers.

Tema has served as president and secretary of her local RWA Chapter, Carolina Romance Writers. She is the honored recipient of the Harold Lowery Service Award, presented by the Carolina Romance Writers.

God has gifted her with a loving husband, two children and four grandchildren who are the delight of her life.

In her spare time, she gardens and digs into genealogy for nuggets to use in her stories.

Connect with Tema:

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