“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragements of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 ESV
Things don’t always go well in life. Right now we have a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old child and things don’t always go right. It could be a child who won’t nap, might run away through the church building, someone who won’t eat, a diaper explosion, being woken up every hour at night, and many other reasons. I’m sure other parents with young children can relate and are experiencing similar things. It is easy to get down as a parent and wonder when will the crazy ever end? When can I get any sleep? Will I go insane?
There is hope however. Parents who have children who are grown will remind you that everything will be ok. That pile of dirt your kid wants to eat is not the end of the world. And you will survive the shorter sleeps at night. Encouragement lifts spirits and helps enable you when you are feeling down.
Just like parenting, our spiritual lives need the same encouragement. It is easy to look around and to see all the negativity. People who are sick, accidents that have happened, voices telling us that we can’t stick to being a Christian because it is too hard, maybe I’m missing out on the fun? Life isn’t going right so maybe I need to lighten up on my spiritual life and spend time doing other things. It is too hard for me to remember to set time aside to pray every day. I can’t even keep the dishes clean. Life attacks us in many different ways but we have hope and we have an encouragement we can lean on.
Romans 15:4 reminds us that things were written a long time ago to give us hope and encouragement while we wait on the promises of God to be fulfilled. These things were given to us to give us hope. People have been through these situations before. There are lessons to be dug up and applied to us. The Scriptures are here for us to use in life as a support system, not just a book of rules and regulations. Just because your child didn’t sleep last night doesn’t mean he won’t sleep tonight. There is a chance! Just because you forgot to pray today doesn’t mean you will fail tomorrow. Just because Jesus hasn’t come back yet doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t coming back at all. It just hasn’t been time yet.
If you look at the beginning of chapter 15, the Scripture reminds us that we who are strong need to be considerate of the weak and to also help them. Our goal as Christians is to help each other do what is right and to also build each other up in the Lord together. We are not alone in this life and we have those around us who we can lean on. When I look around the auditorium on any given Sunday, I see people who are family that are always there when a need arises. God has given us a support system to give us hope in any situation.
I don’t know what your situation is this morning. Maybe things are going great, maybe they aren’t great at all. I finally had a night the other night when my toddler didn’t run in and wake me up at 2 am. It can happen! What is important is remembering that no matter what is happening in life, there is hope. We have hope in a Savior who died on the Cross for our sins and then was raised again. We have a family around us who will lift us up when we need help, but we also have the Bible. We find Scriptures that were written long ago from people who have been in many situations in life. The Scriptures help us endure this life and gives us somewhere to go when we don’t think there is a place to go. The Scriptures give us hope for the life ahead of us. But the Scriptures also remind us of the Savior who gave His all for us.