Sometimes life is hard, and we all need encouragement. Bad things happen to people we love, the news is depressing, and evil appears unrestrained in the world around us.
Scripture is the best place to find solace and encouragement in times of trouble. A common verse quoted to lighten the heart is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
While I could write a page or two of commentary on why this verse is probably not the best one to quote when looking at your current circumstances (in context it’s actually wrapped into God’s judgement on Israel for their disobedience), nevertheless it can offer assurance that God ultimately has our best at heart.
Another verse of encouragement in times of distress is found in 2 Timothy. In chapter four, Paul is lamenting the struggles his ministry has brought upon him. Nero has him imprisoned in a dungeon. His friends have deserted him. False teachers are vehemently opposing him. The threats of execution are relentless. In fact, most interpreters believe this was the last epistle he wrote before he was martyred. It’s not been a fun time in Rome.
Then he writes,
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
2 Tim 4:17-18 NASB
Verse 18 is highlighted. What a beautiful statement of faith! The going has been tough for Paul, yet his faith is unwavering, fixed, and firm. “The Lord will rescue me…” No doubting here, God’s got this. Paul’s eyes are properly fixed on the goal; God will bring him safely into His heavenly kingdom.
While some TV preachers tell us that God wants us to be happy, rich, and have an easy life full of earthly pleasures, this is not taught in Scripture. Instead, we’re promised hardships and that our faith will be tested. We’re told to preach the Word in truth even when it’s not popular, endure suffering with patience, and stand firm against evil when it costs us everything to do so. Yet we can find great peace and comfort in verses like 2 Tim 4:18… God WILL RESCUE us from every evil, and WILL BRING us into His heavenly kingdom. That’s a promise, and one we can cling to tightly. Indeed, to Him be the glory, forever and ever amen!