Day 140

Your Hope in Times of Trouble

Wisdom Psalm 64:1–10
New Testament John 11:1–44
Old Testament 1 Samuel 3:10–11


In recent times, our world has been shaken in ways that are unprecedented, for many of us, in our lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic, wars, terrorism, and global financial crises. Almost everyone, each in our own way, have been dealing with fear, grief and trauma. However difficult your situation may be – however much ‘trouble’ you are facing in your life, you can have hope. Hope is the confident expectation of God’s ultimate blessing in this life and the life to come, based upon the goodness and promises of God. With Jesus, there is always hope.

Like Lazarus in our New Testament passage for today, some parts of the church have been prematurely declared dead. In his book, The Death of Christian Britain, Callum Brown writes, ‘This book is about the demise of the nation’s core religious moral identity. As historical changes go, this has been no lingering and drawn-out affair. It took several centuries (in what historians used to call the Dark Ages) to convert Britain to Christianity, but it has taken less than forty years for the country to forsake it.’

We often read headlines such as, ‘Crisis in the Church’, ‘Dramatic decline in attendance’ and ‘Church attendance figures fall again’.

At the same time, today, we are seeing the results of a society that is attempting to shut God out. Every day, in Britain, around 300 couples are divorced. Somebody calls the Samaritans every fourteen seconds. The pornographic industry is worth billions of pounds. There are 30,000 Christian clergy of all types, and more than 80,000 registered witches and fortune tellers.

Britain is not the only nation in trouble. Many other nations are going through difficult times. As well as on a national level, all of us are likely at some point to face times of trouble in our own individual lives.

‘Trouble’ can take many forms. What is your hope in times of trouble?


Psalm 64:1–10

1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint;
   protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
   from the plots of evildoers.

5 They encourage each other in evil plans,
   they talk about hiding their snares;
   they say, ‘Who will see it?’
6 They plot injustice and say,
   ‘We have devised a perfect plan!’
   Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.

10The righteous will rejoice in the LORD
   and take refuge in him;
   all the upright in heart will glory in him!


Hope in the ultimate triumph of good over evil

Do you ever feel terrified by something you are facing in your life? David faced ‘the terror of the enemy’ (v.1b, AMP).

He went through times of real trouble, ‘the conspirators out to get me’ (v.2, MSG), ‘evil plans’ (v.5a) and ‘traps’ (v.5b, MSG). Yet, he is confident that God will triumph over evil. What should you do when you face similar troubles? The psalm today gives us some clues:

  • Cry out to God

    David prays, ‘Listen and help, O God’ (v.1a, MSG). David asks God: ‘protect my life from the threat of the enemy’ (v.1b).
  • ‘Rejoice in the LORD’

    ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ (v.10a). As the apostle Paul puts it, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!’ (Philippians 4:4).
  • Stay close to the LORD

    ‘Take refuge in him’ (Psalm 64:10b). ‘Fly to God’ (v.10b, MSG).
  • Keep praising God

    ‘Let all the upright in heart praise him!’ (v.10c). ‘Make praise your habit’ (v.10c, MSG).


Lord, thank you that I can be confident of the ultimate triumph of good over evil and that I am never alone. Lord, I praise you.

New Testament

John 11:1–44

1 Now a man named Lazarus was ill. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay ill, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is ill.’

4 When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This illness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’

23 Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

24 Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

27 ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked.
‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’

37 But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 ‘Take away the stone,’ he said.

But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.’

40 Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’


Hope in the resurrection of Jesus

Do you fear death? Many people are afraid of death. But if you put your faith in Jesus, you do not need to fear death. Jesus has defeated the power of death.

I once heard the English comedian, Russell Brand, say, ‘Laughter is addictive because of the inevitability of death. It gives us a temporary escape – for the moment it stops the fear of the inevitability of death.’ Every human being will face the ‘trouble’ of death. Where does your hope lie?

In today’s passage we see the full humanity of Jesus in the face of death. Lazarus was his friend (v.11). Jesus loved him and his family (vv.3, 5, 36). He was ‘deeply moved’ and ‘troubled’ by Lazarus’ death (v.33). In the shortest verse in the Bible we read, ‘Jesus wept’ (v.35).

Yet Jesus is also, uniquely, the answer to death. Jesus said to Martha, ‘“Your brother will be raised up.” Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”’ Jesus’ response was: ‘You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all’ (vv.24–26, MSG).

There is life beyond the grave. Jesus died and rose again. Everyone who believes in Jesus will rise again from the dead. As a foretaste of the future, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

The story of Lazarus is the story of each one of us. Jesus calls you to rise up and become fully alive in order to give life – to bring hope to your family, friends, work colleagues and the world.

This resurrection power is within you. Paul writes to the church of Rome, ‘If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you’ (Romans 8:11). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of your future hope.

Christianity is the largest movement of all time. It is the only one that never loses a member through death. I remember one of my sons, when he was a little boy, saying, ‘When you die, I’ll be sad. Then I’ll see you in heaven and I won’t be sad anymore!’

Mother Teresa was asked shortly before her death, ‘Are you afraid of dying?’ She said, ‘How can I be? Dying is going home to God. I have never been afraid. No, on the contrary,’ she said, ‘I am really looking forward to it!’

This passage also indirectly provides a picture of hope for the church. There is a sickness in parts of the church and many are declaring its death. Some parts of the church seem to have ‘fallen asleep’ (John 11:11). And in some cases there seems to be a ‘bad odour’ (v.39).

This passage reminds us of Jesus’ power to bring even the dead to life. This resurrection power is still at work in the church today. The same Jesus who said over Lazarus ‘this sickness will not end in death’ (v.4), also promised that he would ‘build [his] Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:18, KJV).

Some parts of the church seem to have been prematurely buried. Jesus said about Lazarus, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go’ (John 11:44c). Maybe Jesus would say something similar to parts of the church today. The Brighton and Hove Argus described what has happened at one of our church plants – St Peter’s, Brighton – as ‘the Lazarus-like recovery of the city’s “unofficial cathedral”’. We have called our church planting programme: ‘Project Lazarus’!


Lord, thank you for your resurrection power that is in me and that, like Lazarus, you call me to rise up and bring hope to others. I pray today for my family, friends, colleagues … Please bring new life to them. May we see the church come alive all across the nations.

Old Testament

1 Samuel 3:10–11

10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’

Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’

11 And the LORD said to Samuel: ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.’


Hope in the word of the Lord

Do you realise that God wants to speak to you? You can say, like Samuel, ‘Speak LORD, for your servant is listening’ (3:10b).

These were times of trouble, not just for the people of God, but for everyone (4:7). It was a time when it seemed that God was almost silent. ‘In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions’ (3:1).

It must have been heart-breaking for Eli to see his own sons dishonouring the Lord. They slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting (2:22). They dishonoured God who has said, ‘Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained’ (v.30).

As a result of the dishonouring of God, the people of God are defeated (4:1b–11). Eli dies heartbroken (vv.12–18). His daughter-in-law gives birth to a child with the name Ichabod: ‘The glory has departed’ (vv.19–22).

Yet, in the midst of these terrible times of trouble for the people of God there is hope. The Lord called Samuel (3:4). God revealed himself to Samuel and he listened to the Lord (vv.9–10). He said, ‘Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen’ (v.10, MSG). The Lord said, ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle’ (v.11).

Samuel was prepared to pass on the message in its entirety, however unpopular, embarrassing and difficult it was (v.18). He did not hide anything. As a result, God was able to use him greatly: ‘The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground’ (v.19).


‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening’ (v.10). Help me to listen carefully to the word of God and then pass it on so that others too may hope in the word of the Lord.

Pippa adds

1 Samuel 3

I long to hear God’s voice more clearly. As I look at 1 Samuel chapter 3, God started speaking to Samuel when he was a child. Maybe I would hear God more if my head was not so cluttered with so many things. Samuel didn’t have life’s usual distractions. He had less of the world and much more of God.

Thought for the Day

With Jesus, there is always hope.



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Callum G. Brown, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation 1800–2000, (Routledge, 2009).

Divorce Statistics from Office of National Statistics, accessed via:

Samaritans statistic from, accessed via:

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel (commentary formerly known as Bible in One Year) ©Alpha International 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Compilation of daily Bible readings © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 1988. Published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited as the Bible in One Year.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.

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