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Having hope when you aren't living it

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When our life circumstances look dismal, the Bible encourages us to have hope, but how is that possible?

Years ago, I read a book called Tortured For Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. It's not an easy or comfortable read, but it gave me a valuable perspective on life.You can get this book for free by visiting The Voice of the Martyrs, an organization started by Richard.

In this book, he shared his story of being Jewish and coming to a know Jesus in Romania just before it became part of the Soviet Union. As a result of his conviction for sharing Christ with other people in a place where it became illegal to do such a thing, Richard found himself in prison more than one time.

He experienced abuse, beatings, and extreme family tragedies because of his faith in Christ. Still, he never lost hope. He doesn't use gore or graphic details, but the reality of the pain burns through the book's pages.

How is possible that a man in those circumstances had hope? I could tell you how God calmed my stressed heart when my parents told me they planned to get divorced. I could share how He comforted me and strengthened me when my dad died in a car accident one week prior to starting divorce proceedings.

I could bare my soul and tell you of the countless people who threw insults my way because I didn't act like "normal" kids. But I live in an affluent place with many comforts. It's easy to assume I couldn't know real pain.

Richard Wurmband knew real pain. He shares about how he prayed for the people who beat him, he knew they needed Jesus. He reveals the joy he had with even one small visit from his wife or child. But he also tells of glimpses of joy he felt within the prison when no one came. How can such things happen?

Such hope, such joy is possible. Even when our budgest get tighter. Even when families fall apart. Even when tragedies hit. There is hope.

I'll never forget a lady who got interviewed on the steps of her burned out home when the Malibu fires roared through her neighborhood. It was a Sunday. She left to go to church and returned to a shell of a home. A news interviewer talked with her, Bible in hand, about how it made her feel. I will always remember, she said, "It is possible to feel peace at times like this."

Much of our Bible was written from inside a prison. The Apostle Paul wrote to various churches to counsel, guide and offer encouragement. He did it as a prisoner. He wrote the books of Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossionans, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

He said,

I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. (2 Corinthians 7:4)

Do you have pain or struggles you face today? This same hope comes for you, your marriage, and your family.

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