I went to a Christian singles fellowship tonight (as I’m writing this) where a speaker shared clips from an upcoming media series and gave a talk about international events, Christianity, and prophecy. It was interesting and refreshing, and it sparked several comments and questions. It got me thinking, where is our hope in a world going down the tubes faster than the speed of light? Where is my hope? I really had to think about it.
As the world becomes increasingly hostile to Christ and Christians, we single Christians cannot afford to pretend like God loves us so much that He will never allow us to suffer or endure persecution at the hands of the world.
We reason: If He loves us, why would He let us suffer? After all, we’re just being decent people, doing our best to love God and love people.
So many were surprised when God let them down by allowing something painful and ugly to come into their lives; something unwanted, undeserved, and therefore, unwarranted. They thought they were doing all the right things.
I can’t believe it. This is what I get in return after being good all these years? This just isn’t right.
The shock was so unexpected, so painful, so unlike the God of love that they have been told about and think they know, that they walked away from God. They had assumed God would protect them from all evil, or at least the biggest ones, anyway.
However, assumption is not hope.
Wishing is not hope.
Dreaming, demanding, and conjecturing are not hope.
Something else that is also not hope: trusting in something or someone that doesn’t have the ability to help or save you. The power of the right hope could be a matter of life and death.
Let’s say you need to borrow $1000. Would you put your hope in your friend Joe, who’s always broke and can barely pay his rent, or your Uncle Jim, who is a multi-billionaire and who loves you? Me, too.
So, as the world becomes increasingly dark, it is important to clarify what you are hoping in, and establish once for all what or who it should be in.
What has been bringing you safety, security, joy, and hope? How reliable is it in the face of eternity?
One way to figure this out is to review your last three bank statements. Where your treasure is, your heart will be also. In other words, financial priorities will reveal a big part of the real answer to the above question.
A second way to tell where your hope is, is to review your schedule from the last seven days and see how you spent your time.
A final way to verify where you’ve put your hope is to review your devices, especially checking your apps, your open apps, and recent searches.
None of these is Jesus.
None of these can be your hope because people, positions, and possessions cannot last forever, or hold the weight of your needs, sins, and burdens.
For you to get through the tough times ahead, it is critical that you establish once for all Who Jesus is in your life.
For starters, it’s always good to be reminded that life is not about you or me; it is about Jesus and His will on earth.
Remember this before the tough times come.
So… what if I am having trouble with this whole faith thing? How can I grow my faith and learn to keep my hope centered on the Lord?
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17
If you’ve been neglecting the reading and studying of your Bible lately, now would be a great time to reacquaint yourself with this joyful discipline. It’s early enough in 2018 for you to snag one of the many dozens of Bible reading programs available online to get you jump-started. Fall in love with God all over again by reading the Bible as His love letter to you.
Use the prayers you find in the Bible as your own prayers. Read them out loud to God and have a dialogue with Him about it.
Ask Him for more faith, then brace yourself. You never know what adventure, sudden change, mishap, or actions intended to harm or humiliate you the Lord might allow so that your faith and hope may grow in answer to this prayer, John 17:5.
And gratefully remind yourself that this planet is not your final destination. Nothing you own is going to heaven with you. Jesus promised to bring us to our final destination to be where He is, John 14:1-3.
Let Jesus be your hope, since He is the only eternally reliable source of hope in the years to come. When you suffer or are persecuted, whenever it comes, you’ll be ready.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV