An Advent Devotional, By: Ellen Broom
May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in Him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Life can become pretty challenging at times, and having faith can dramatically help you through those times. Research shows that people who participate in religious practice are happier (Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, 2015; Sanderson, 2014). Studies on religious practices and happiness suggest that having a religious belief is correlated with stronger social relationships that provide supports in difficult situations, lower levels of unhealthy behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, gambling, infidelity), and a sense of hope. It appears that hope allows us to believe that life will get better, and hope gives us meaning and strength when we meet life challenges.
Hope provides a psychological resiliency. It allows us to know that this is just a moment in time, and good things await us. Hope is powerful. It gives us the tenacity and courage to face difficulty. I believe that we might not have a choice in a given situation, but we always have a choice about how we think about and address the situation. I have faced many obstacles in my life, and a sense of hope and my belief in God have helped me in immeasurable ways. God is good. He weeps with you in your heartache and pain. He is the light that will provide you peace and comfort in all situations. Be courageous. Embrace hope. Know you are loved and under His care.
Gracious God, help us to remember that you are with us in all things. Help us to find peace, comfort, and hope in knowing that we will never face anything alone. May that be our strength on days when we need it most. Amen.