Hopeful but Here: How to Make the Most of Wearying Situations

The time has come. It’s finally here!

With only a few weeks left until the end of the semester, I’m unable to contain my excitement. I’ve been awaiting the end for so long! I can’t stop thinking about summer plans and a homework-free life. (What even is that?)  

But first, I have to survive—and thrive, if possible.

Because I have to endure final papers, projects, presentations, and exams.

I’m stressed thinking about it, so I try to think about the end. I don’t want to think about the now—the difficult assignments and the countless hours of studying. I’m tired of not getting to see my family, having little free time, and being around annoying students. I’m sick of living in a small dorm room, forcing myself to be friendly, and attending boring lectures.

But I have to be here. And in the here, I have to be present.

Fully aware. Fully engaged. Fully involved.

Because there’s no escape from the present, my friends.

So what is your “present?” Is your “present” a difficult situation at home, work, or school? Maybe you’re enduring a personal struggle? Perhaps, like me, all you can see is the end. You can easily focus on the future, but it’s hard to make the most of the here and now.

I definitely don’t have a problem with being hopeful for the future. Rather, I have a problem with being patient in the present. But the present is where we are.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11-12, NKJV)

No matter how weary we are and no matter how difficult the circumstances we face, we must be steadfast in our faith. We must make the most of the here and now! So how can we become patient in the present and stay steadfast?

Here are three simple suggestions:

  1. Make the most of your opportunities. Though I don’t understand why so many events are happening at the end of the semester, I do know that I need to take advantage of them. I could spend lots of time doing homework (because there’s plenty to do!), or I could get involved. For me, that means I should attend my friend’s wedding shower next week and attend the meeting for my ministry group. What opportunities are available that would be encouraging to others?
  2. Make the most of your friendships. I’m not the most social person, so I like to spend a lot of time alone in my room. But being alone all the time isn’t good for anyone—even introverts. God has blessed me with new relationships at college that I won’t get to nourish for three months. Rather than stay in my room to study, I need to spend time with people by going to meals, striking up conversations with friends, and reaching out to the lonely. Are there any friendships you need to nourish (or create) now?
  3. Make the most of your relationship with God. Maybe you’ve been asking God why you have to endure _____. That blank could include any difficult situation, like your parents getting divorced, a friend neglecting you, stress from work, or a long illness. Maybe you’ve promised God that your relationship with Him will thrive when your situation gets better. But there’s no guarantee that it will get better or easier, which is exactly why we must absolutely seek God now. I’m guilty of shortening my devotion time (or even skipping it) so I can have just a few more minutes of rest. But in the long run, my relationship with God is much more valuable than sleep. Are you seeking to thrive in your relationship with God now?

Life is often like finals week—difficult, stressful, and exhausting. We usually want to wish away the irritating people, confusing issues, and painful seasons of life. It isn’t sinful to be excited about the future, like a break, vacation, or even new circumstances. But diligence and patience are the keys to experiencing joy as we wait for the future.

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