Hanging Onto HOPE In This Chaotic World

“So God has given both His promise and His oath.
These two things are unchangeable
because it is impossible for God to lie.
Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge
can have great confidence
as we hold to the hope that lies before us.
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”

Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT

On February 3, 9-year-old Serenity Dennard walked out of The Black Hills Children’s Home Society, a private nonprofit that provides residential treatment and programs for children who are victims of domestic violence, abuse and neglect, or other trauma.

Dozens of people have searched for her for days, also using a helicopter and 7 scent and cadaver dog teams. Because of cold temps and snow, it turned into a recovery effort. But still no Serenity.

I keep praying, “God, please help them find her!” I keep checking up on the latest search news. But still no Serenity.

God, why won’t You answer the prayers of all the people who are praying? You know where she is. Help, Lord!

When something like this happens, I always think the worst. I fear someone who doesn’t have honorable intentions has picked her up. I’m so scared. Not only for Serenity, but for children who are missing everywhere. My heart aches for them and for their loved ones who must be agonizing on what has happened or is happening to their child, grandchild, etc.  

It’s hard not to get distressed or depressed when we know the evil that is happening in this world, whether openly or secretly, to vulnerable children and adults. So much pain and sorrow. So much hate and discrimination. So much abuse and injustice. It can wrench us to the depth of our souls. It can seem so hopeless and we can feel so helpless.

I have been upset with God, because I know He knows where Serenity is. I have been focusing too much on all that is happening in this chaotic world. I have listened too much to all the lies that Satan whispers, sometimes even without my realizing it, that all these things are far too big for God to handle. I have hung onto my pride that my plan is better than God’s. I have let it overwhelm me and I have refused to allow myself to unclench my fists of rebellion and give it all to Jesus.

In Psalm 42, David was taunted, too. He described himself as a deer panting for water brooks, hunted by its enemy. Day and night he wept for God’s help. His enemies scoffed, “Where is this God of yours?”

Two times in this Psalm, David cried out:

“Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again—
my Savior and my God!”

Despite all the raging emotions in his heart and the taunting of his enemies, he pushed past all the discouragement that was drowning him and grasped onto the hope there is in God. He remembered his Savior, his Refuge, and his Promise-Keeper who never lies. He recalled how strong and trustworthy our Anchor of Hope is.

Yes, we live in a broken world where bad things happen. Where people choose to hurt people. Where Satan is still fighting to discourage us and keep us from our Anchor of Hope. But God is still in control. He is still the King, even though we don’t understand everything that happens.

Someday we will understand. Meanwhile, however much it hurts, may we together remember God knows and loves and cares. Nothing bad that ever happens will change that truth. Without that truth, we have no hope.

I Have This Hope
by Tenth Avenue North

“As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go…”

28 thoughts on “Hanging Onto HOPE In This Chaotic World

  1. Oh, what a distressing story about this precious little girl gone missing . . . Yes, in these dark and chaotic times, it can be all too easy to misplace our hope and trust in God. Thank you, Trudy, for reminding us so powerfully here that our God always keeps His promises, and can be relied upon in every circumstance. I am praying they find Serenity!
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for adding your prayers to that of many others, Martha. It truly is distressing. I wish all these prayers were answered, but I need to remember that God always keeps His promises and that He loves Serenity, too. Blessings to you, too! May we cling to hope and trust God is with us, both in triumph and in tragedy!

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  2. It’s hard to “like” this post, Trudy, but as you’ve written, I cling to hope too… Hope for the missing children in this world. Hope for the disadvantaged. And hope for those who are suffering! I pray they find Serenity! Thank you for the reminder to never lose “hope”! ❤

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    1. I know what you mean by it being hard to “like” this post, Jennifer. Thank you for praying for Serenity. With tears in my eyes, my heart answers “Amen!” to what you say here – “I cling to hope too… Hope for the missing children in this world. Hope for the disadvantaged. And hope for those who are suffering!” Also for your daughter. May we lean into and cling to Jesus, our only Hope!

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    1. I’m with you on how hard it can be to hold onto hope in these desperate times, Rebecca. How true it is that “knowing it’s there, holding us up whether we see it or not” helps! May we remember that each day, no matter how desperate our lives or world are!

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  3. That is such a heart-breaking story about Serenity. Praying that she is found! I relate to your feelings at times like this. it is easy to be overcome by circumstances and to wonder why God doesn’t resolve things as we think he should. But I love that in him, we have hope even in the worst of circumstances, and the song is a beautiful reminder of that!

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    1. Yes, so heart-breaking. Thank you for praying for her, Lesley. Yes, it’s so easy to be overcome. It truly is amazing that we may have hope even in the worst of circumstances. In the midst of tragedy, may we have the hope deep in our souls that God is never going to abandon us and He is with us, even in the times when we can’t “feel” Him!

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  4. Oh Trudy, these words are so true about the state of this chaotic world today. It IS so hopeless unless we know Jesus. And I can relate to this so much: “I have hung onto my pride that my plan is better than God’s. I have let it overwhelm me and I have refused to allow myself to unclench my fists of rebellion and give it all to Jesus.” When I lie awake worrying at night, I realize those very same convictions. Oh, thank God that He hears our cries for help to surrender our own plans to Him. He is so good to bring us His hope, isn’t He? Thank you for these sweet words today, I really needed to hear them. Blessings, love and hugs Dear Friend! xo

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    1. Yes, it truly is hopeless without Jesus, Bettie. I’m with you on thanking God who hears our cries for help to surrender our own plans to Him. I have those clenched fist moments, too, when it comes to chronic illness. Sometimes I think I’m learning to accept it, but then there comes a time when I can’t make it to something important, and I struggle and rebel all over again. 😦 God really convicted me yesterday through Linda Stoll’s guest post at Mary Giesen’s yesterday – https://marygeisen.com/the-call-to-lay-your-isaac-down/. I have so many Isaacs I am not willing to give up. Concerning chronic illness, I often refuse to allow God to take the throne in my heart. I’m so glad God is so good and patient and so full of love and grace, aren’t you? May God give us grace to surrender our own plans to Him whose plans are always for us, not against us!

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  5. I have been battling these same questions. It is so hard to understand why bad things happen to the innocent. I ask “Where is God?” But I know He’s here. I know He is working! One day I’ll understand, but until then, I trust and keep my faith in Him. Just like your picture above, He is my Hope, Light, Strength and Comforter! Knowing that, keeps us going through difficult times!

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    1. I just read your post, Joan, and I really identify with it. As you say here, we wonder where He is. And yet we know He’s here. It’s so hard to understand, but someday we will. Through the difficult times, may we remember He is still our Hope, Light, Strength, and Comforter!

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  6. Oh how those who know and love Serenity must be suffering! And all who fear for children who are missing. With the world as it is, our thoughts naturally turn towards a worse case scenario. I pray she might be found, safe and sound, out of reach of harm. May God give her holy courage to hold on to hope, and to trust in Him, especially if things are grim. We know how very much God loves His children, each and every one of us. But we also know how very dark this world is and how people can hurt or abuse others, often without thinking.

    Thank you, Trudy, for asking the hard questions that so often cross our minds. And thank you too for pointing us back to the One who sees the deceitfulness of the human heart yet loves us anyway, just as we are. Blessings and love to you, dear hope-revealing friend. xo ❤

    May we all have this kind of hope to tide us through when life is tough and our heart yearnings don't get answered:

    "I have this hope
    In the depth of my soul
    In the flood or the fire
    You’re with me and You won’t let go."

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the prayers for Serenity, Joy. Yes, God sees the deceitfulness of our hearts and yet loves us anyway. That’s such a wonder and a comfort. That stanza of the song has been going through my mind all day. Yes, He’s with us through every trial, no matter how hard it is. He’s never going to let us go. Blessings and love to you, too! May we trust God’s grace will always be present, whether through triumph or tragedy, even in those times we can’t “feel” it!

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  7. Satan does roam the earth. But God is more powerful, the scriptures teach. It is so tough when bad things happen in this broken world of ours. But we are to take heart and always remember who has the victory over our souls. Hanging onto hope…yes! a statement for our daily walk in this chaotic world.

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    1. Yes, thanks be to God, Satan will never win in the end! Yes, Lynn, that hanging onto hope is truly “a statement for our daily walk in this chaotic world.” When Satan roars in our ears and hearts, may we cling to our victory in Jesus!

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  8. Trudy,
    How it grieves me to read about Serenity. Lord, have mercy, and may the Lord comfort Serenity, you and all of us when we read of such tragedies. Thank you for pointing us back to God, and that is what I “liked” about your post because God never leaves us and wherever Serenity is, God is with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your prayers, Dolly. Yes, though we and many don’t know where she is, God knows and cares for her. One day my heart was finally calmed when God whispered, “My child, I love her, too.” He’s got her. And He’s got us. May we cling to that truth in the midst of tragedies and trials!

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  9. These kind of situations are so hard, Trudy. Thank you for sharing so honestly about this … maybe hope is a choice, just like faith? We have to trust that God is there, even when what happens seems to indicate the opposite. Love and hugs, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they are so hard, Lois. Your bringing to our attention about hope being a choice makes me think of what David said even though he was discouraged, “I WILL put my hope in God. I WILL praise Him again.” Love and hugs to you, too. Whatever happens in life, may we trust God is still with us, even it “feels” like He’s not!

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  10. Trudy, this is the first I’ve heard about this story. I’m so sorry! I’m saying prayers for Serenity. What a sad story.

    I appreciate this post so much. The reminder that God is always with us, He’s our all-in-all in whatever needs we have. He is the One who loves us most and best and completely, even when we don’t understand the why’s in our lives. I never tire of these kinds of reminders!

    Sending you hugs and blessings, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is so sad, Jeanne, as are all missing kid stories. This happened in our state of SD, so the local news was covering it a lot. But sadly, all news has stopped, so I think they must have ended the search. I’m not sure. Yes, God is “the One who loves us most and best and completely!” Thank you for that reminder. I never tire of those reminders either! Hugs and blessings to you, too! May we trust He is always with us, even when tragedy or troubles discourage us!

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  11. What a difficult story to read about and wrap my head around. I am praying with you that Serenity is found.

    Thank you for pointing us to hope. It’s easy to let lies consume us when life is distressing around us. But God’s truth is all the hope we need.

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