Help & Hope
Are you facing troubled times?  Are people you love suffering?
God has a word of help and hope and encouragement for you.  Below are statements from the Bible and hymn verses to provide help:

"I keep telling myself that worrying is a sin, but I keep falling back into it."
 If you have a Bible, please look at 1 Peter 5:7 and Psalm 50:15

God’s word for worried times:
Luke 12:22-34, Matthew 6:25-34

Where can a person get his/her heavy heart and heavy load lightened?  see Matthew 11:28-30

The big question is WHY?  (What lessons is God teaching?)
Some answers that may apply (but not necessarily in your case right now):
*   A wake-up call
*   To strengthen your faith in Jesus and God’s promises
*   To make you more and more into the kind of person God wants you to be
*   To give you an opportunity to “let your light shine” (so others can see how a Christian deals with a tough situation)
*   To move you to call on him in prayer
*   So when you are past this time, you can help others cope and heal
  The tough but true answer is, “We won’t know for sure until heaven.  Until then, trust in the one who has all things under his control.”

To inspire you to be satisfied with what you have, read:
*  Philippians 4:10-13  (Note that when Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians, he was in prison for preaching the Good News about Jesus If you read this book in your Bible, count how many times Paul uses the word "joy" or "rejoice."  And HE was in jail!)
*   Did this Paul have problems?  Yes!!  Read a brief autobiography in 2 Corinthians 11:23-35

God knows how much you can take and will not give you any more than that.  Why would the one who promises and gives heaven beat you down so much that you would throw away faith in Jesus?  
See 1 Corinthians 10:13

God has plans for you.  
In Jeremiah 29:11 he told the Jews he sent into captivity in Babylon, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  These words were spoken to a people who were told they would not leave Babylon for 70 years (many would not live to see the return to the land of Israel).  But God knew the plans he had for them – plans which centered on his promise to send the Savior of the world through the Jews.

He knows the plans he has for you. We don’t; we just have to trust him.  
His plans center around the Savior Jesus. These things you can know for sure:  You have forgiveness for all sin at the cross, you have a Good Shepherd who really is by your side each and every day; you have Jesus’ promise to get a place ready for you in heaven, and he lives to take you there; you have the sure hope that – when all is said and done – you too will be raised from death and the grave and, body and soul, be in heaven.  God’s other plans – whatever they may be, however they may work out – must fall in line with these.

It might mean a relocation
Hebrews 11:1-2, 5-6  Abraham had no clue where God was leading him.  He was 75 years old at the time.  He had his job, his house, his friends, etc. in solid.  Now God tells him to move, relocate – not just to a different part of the Chaldees (modern-day Iraq) – but to a foreign country, the land of Canaan.

If you feel like you can’t help feeling bitter, see:
Ephesians 4:31, Romans 12:17-21

If you but trust in God to guide you
And place your confidence in him,
He’ll give you strength and stand beside you
When days are dreary, dark and dim.
For those who trust his changeless love
Build on the rock that does not move.

How can these anxious worries aid you,
These never-ceasing moans and sighs?
Will not his wings of mercy shade you
Whenever troubled times arise?
Our cross and trials do but press
The heavier for our bitterness.

Be patient and await his leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content;
Then take whate’er your Father’s pleasure
And his discerning love have sent.
Doubt not; your inmost wants are known
To him who chose you for his own.

Sing, pray and keep his ways unswerving.
Perform your duties faithfully,
And trust his Word; though undeserving,
You’ll find his promise true to be.
God never yet forsook in need
The soul that trusted him indeed.
[Hymn 444 of CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: A Lutheran Hymnal, Copyright 1993 by Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, WI]

Are you feeling down or depressed?
*  Read Psalm 13

*  Remember Psalm 118:24  “This is the day the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Why?  We don’t know if we have (or this world has) tomorrow.  What we do know is that our sins of past, present and future have been covered in the blood of Jesus.  And we do know that Jesus is out ahead of us, getting a place ready for us in heaven.  Since our Savior has taken care of us in the past, and our future is in solid, then we can live TODAY to the fullest.

What to do while waiting
Read Ecclesiastes 11:6

Don’t be lazy, but don’t worry about finances and wealth.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs….

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”  (1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17)

Jesus, lead us on till our rest is won.
And, although the way be cheerless,
We will follow, calm and fearless.
Guide us by your hand to our Fatherland.

If the way be drear, if the foe be near,
Let not faithless fears o’ertake us;
Let not faith and hope forsake us.
For through many a woe to our home we go.

When we seek relief from a long-felt grief,
When temptations come alluring,
Make us patient and enduring.
Show us that bright shore where we weep no more.

Jesus, still lead on till our rest is won.
Heavenly Leader, still direct us,
Still support, console protect us
Till we safely stand in our Fatherland.
[Hymn 422 from CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: A Lutheran Hymnal, Copyright 1993, Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, WI]

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit!
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.  
[Hymn 411 of CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: A Lutheran Hymnal, Copyright 1993, Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, WI]

 
Don't give up on praying – be persistent
Matthew 7:7-8 – The verbs Jesus uses here talk about persistence:  “Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking …”  Don’t give up.

Matthew 7:9-11 -- Know that the Lord will give you the best answer to our prayers.  Parents, know how to give good gifts to their children (according to their ability), and yet they (we) are evil -- sinners. How much better gifts can, and will, a gracious God give His children?

Matthew 6:7-8 – You don’t need lots of words to make your prayer heard.  You won’t get your heavenly Father’s attention any better with wordiness, and you cannot wear God out.  You can dare to get right to the point, immediately in prayer, like "Lord, I need a job."  And the truth is: He knows everything you are going to ask him BEFORE you ask it.

Then why ask?  Because he tells us:  "Call on me."  "Call on me in the day of trouble.  I WILL deliver you."  He does not say,  "I will put you on the list."  You are more than another "body" to him.  You are a dear child of His because of Jesus.

Luke 18:1-8  Jesus urges to be persistent and not give up until you get an answer.

Examples from the Bible:
*  Abraham on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33).
*  The apostle Paul with his "thorn in the flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:7-10),
*  Hannah for a baby (1 Samuel 1).
*  But, best of all, see your Lord Jesus Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44, especially verse 44).  Because the heavenly Father had his way, you are I have forgiveness, a place in the family of God, and an inheritance to look forward to in heaven.

Don’t hold back on your wants in prayer.  
You have a God who created the whole universe with power we cannot begin to imagine.  He has the power to answer our requests in the best way possible --  the way we want them answered or even better.

Hymn verse:
You are coming to a King
Large petitions with you bring.
For his grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much.

Remember to pray for others, including those laid off/let go along with you (for example, in the case of unemployment).
A PRAYER (to use as a springboard for your own)
   God, you have been the Help and Stay of your people in days past.  Don't turn from them in the day of trouble and distress. Look, many are now discouraged and disheartened because of a lack of employment.
   We ask you not to leave yourself without witness that you are their Father who does not forget or forsake them.  Give them the faith to cast their anxieties on you, because you care for them.  Keep them from all resentment and bitterness of heart; and make them hopeful, cheerful and courageous.  Teach them to trust in you and wait patiently for you to act.  In your mercy, raise up the opportunity for their employment, that in peace and thankfulness they may earn their daily bread.
   Give us the spirit of brotherly love, and make your people everywhere willing to carry the burdens of your people in need.  Help us, as we have the opportunity, to do good to all people -- especially to those who are of the household of faith.  Make us merciful as you, our Father, are merciful for Jesus' sake.  Amen.
[The above prayer is adapted from one printed in The Lutheran Liturgy.  St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.