Hope for Troubled Times - Jeremy Bilson
My name is Jeremy but you can call me Jez! I’ve grown up in Newcastle and am a youth pastor, teacher and music artist but the most important thing to know about me is that I love Jesus!
But it hasn’t always been this way.
I grew up without Jesus, not thinking I was worth anything. My Mum passed away from cancer when I was almost 5 years old. I spent my high schooling years in a violent household where I was regularly told I was stupid, worthless, that I would never accomplish anything in my life and being called nasty things. After years of being told those things about myself, I believed them.
When I was 16 I was struggling from severe depression and loneliness. I was invited to a youth group and heard about the hope and love of Jesus clearly for the first time. I remember one night I was in my room in tears, feeling hopeless and felt I had nothing to lose and so I cried out to God; ‘God, If you are there, SHOW ME! God if you’re there, tell me because I have nothing left.’
God works in INCREDIBLE ways because as soon as I prayed God that, He answered me with the words ‘You Are Loved’ loud and clear. In that moment, I felt a peace and a joy I had never known. And that was a beginning of an incredible journey of having a relationship with my creator.
My life has not been perfect since then, but the more that I spend time with God and getting to know him, the more I understand the hope that can only be found in Jesus. I also now find contentment and true purpose in knowing and loving Him knowing that He listens, He cares and has everything in his perfect and loving hands.
God led me to the topic to share: Hope Through Troubled Times.
This is because:
FACT: Everyone goes through troubled times sometime in their life
Whether that be loneliness, a relationship break-up, a failed grade, losing a job or losing a loved one… We all go through troubled times and God’s Bible explores about getting through these times even through when we are in the middle of them and it can feel hopeless. Here are 3 practical tips we can do to help us get through troubled times.
1. Read the Bible
Psalm 119:105 - ‘Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.’
So many of us have questions to God asking why certain things happen. I know I have had those. But God answers the most important question for us in his inspired and completely truthful word, the Bible. The Bible brings words of hope and God’s Holy Spirit works through it to bring healing, direction and hope in any circumstance you can face.
If you would like to start reading the Bible, one of the 4 gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke or John is a great place to start as they cover Jesus’ life and teachings. I personally also love the Old Testament Book of Proverbs which gives us lots of wisdom in our lives.
2. Spend Time With God - Pray.
Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
God’s word tells us that God knows everything about us, he loves us infinitely and that he is for us with an incredible future and plan for us!
When you focus on God and spend time with Him, He gives you hope, strength and joy to go through any trial that you might face in life.
A great Bible illustration is when Peter waked on water in Matthew 14:22. When Peter was focusing on Jesus and had faith he walked on water! But when he got distracted by the wind and waves, he fell into the water. In the same way, when we keep our focus on Jesus, he will keep us afloat in troubled times.
3. Surround Yourself With Believers
Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.
The people that you surround yourself with have a huge impact on what you believe and where you are headed in life. Spending time with encouraging Christian friends and mentors who will speak truth into your life are important to have in the good and the bad times.
Youth ministries, churches and Bible study groups are the perfect place for this where not only can we be surrounded by people who encourage us in our lives and in our faith, but we can also encourage others as well. We were not designed to follow Jesus alone but in community with others.
In conclusion, when we prioritise and surround ourselves with the Bible, Prayer and Jesus Believers we have nothing to worry about when troubled times come because in all circumstances, we can put our trust in our loving heavenly father who has it all under his control and loves us infinitely.
Romans 5:8 says: ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God demonstrated this perfect love by sending his son Jesus to die on the cross for us. Even though we are sinners and stuff up every day, Jesus died and rose again so that we can be forgiven, have a relationship with God and spend an eternity with Him in heaven!
When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the price of our sins. The Bible says we are wiped clean. The Bible also says if we regularly ask God for forgiveness and tell him we are sorry, then we are forgiven and perfect in God’s sight.
Here is a prayer you can pray to renew or start your relationship with Jesus:
Dear Jesus. I am sorry. I am a broken person and I realise I need you. I accept you into my heart and into my brokenness. Please forgive my sins change me from the inside out. I surrender my life to you. Help me to follow you and know you for all my days. In Jesus name, Amen.
If you just prayed that it is the most exciting and important prayer and thing you could ever say or do! Let a Jesus believer around you know!
- Jeremy Bilson