If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. We’ve heard that piece of wisdom since we were old enough to talk. Or at least since we were old enough to say not-nice things. But this morning, as I sit here at my keyboard, I’d like to add a new twist to that old proverb:

If you can’t say anything worth hearing, keep your mouth shut. Or in my case, turn your computer off.

That thought skittered through my mind because I’m sitting here, deadline looming, needing to type 500 words of significance, and I have nothing to say that you haven’t already heard. I’ve told you all my dog stories, all my housekeeping (failure) stories, all my kid stories, all my husband stories, all my life-on-the-farm stories. What else is there to say?

I don’t have a story for you today. I’m sorry. The end.

I do, however, want to encourage you, because no matter our stories, we all need encouragement. We all need hope. Hope is a very real thing, and it’s yours for the taking.

I learned a few years back that hope is the opposite of fear. Fear is the belief that something bad will happen, while hope is the belief that something good will happen. This life is filled with plenty of bad things, but when we rely on God, we can know, and not doubt, that the end of the story will be good. Better than good. It will be amazing beyond description.

I’m not just talking about heaven, either. It’s easy to get caught up in the gloom and doom of this life, with little hope for anything to get better here on earth. That’s just depressing, to think we have to die to get to the good stuff. That’s not at all how God wants His children to live!

It is, however, how Satan wants us to live.

Listen to Christ’s words, found in John 10:10: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”  

I personally believe that much of the battle is fought right inside our heads. Satan screams negative thoughts about how miserable our lives are, how worthless our existence is. His voice is grating and shrill, and leaves us with a stress headache. And he won’t shut up unless we tell him to.

God’s voice is calm and peaceful. We hear Him when we listen for Him. But we must intentionally listen for the quiet power of His words. When we do, we will hear such beautiful things, like how much He loves us. How He created us with a purpose. How He made us to do good, important things—things He planned long ago for us to do. When we listen, we’ll hear Him tell us that His children are heirs with Christ. That means we’re royalty, by the way, with all the advantages and privileges of a royal son or daughter.

We’ll hear the reminders that we are chosen; He sought us out because He loves us and wants us for His own. He paid an exorbitant price for us—He gave His life. That’s how valuable we are to Him.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.