There’s no doubt about it, we live in a world that seems to be hopeless. Every time you turn on the news or scroll through your social media feed, you probably feel like you’re overwhelmed by the amount of negativity that is going on. Disease is running rampant, every day seems to bring the news of a new war, and families are divided along virtually every kind of line imaginable. Is there hope? Yes, there is!
A cursory glance through your social media feed or a few minutes watching the news will let you know that we’re living in a world in crisis. The pandemic that started ravaging the globe two years ago continues to grow and mutate, leaving people fearful for their health, as well as their job status. To make matters worse, it seems as though every day brings another report about one country declaring war against another. Even at home, we often hear about families who are crumbling because they can’t see eye to eye on any number of topics ranging from politics to the economy.
In many cases, it seems like every time there is a glimmer of hope, it quickly gets wiped out by the presence of more bad news. However, since our faith has been placed in Christ, we understand that our hope is not found in a vaccine, a politician, or a news anchor. Instead, our hope has been firmly placed in the Savior who has forgiven us and who keeps us.
As carriers of this blessed hope, we are called to carry the hope that we have into the world around us. There is hope in the face of crisis. That hope lives inside of each and every one of God’s people.
Where do we find the hope that we are called to share with the world around us?
God Has a Plan
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
While Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most popular Scriptures from the Old Testament, the three verses that follow it are packed full of promises that God has for His people. Jeremiah’s public ministry took place during a time of immense crisis in Israel. In fact, the people of Israel weren’t even living in their homeland. They had been carried away into captivity because of their own disobedience. However, even in the face of their crisis, God had a beautiful plan for His people.
That makes these verses so much more powerful. God didn’t tell Jeremiah that He had a plan for His people when everything was going well. Instead, He told them that He had a plan when everything seemed to be falling apart all around them. Moreover, He promised Jeremiah (and us) that He would hear their cries when they sought Him with all of their hearts.
We have hope in the face of chaos because we know that God hears us. Additionally, we understand that God has a plan, even when it looks like everything has been thrown into chaos. When it seems like everything is falling apart to us, everything is really coming together in the eyes of God.
God is For Us
Psalm 118:5-9 (ESV)
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
The 1972 Miami Dolphins football team hold a distinct record. They are the only team in the history of professional football to win every game in the regular season and then go on to win the Super Bowl. While other teams over the years have posted remarkable regular season records, some of them going undefeated, no one else has ever been able to match the feat accomplished by the 1972 Dolphins.
As impressive as that accomplishment is in the eyes of sports fans, it’s even more remarkable to understand that the God who we serve has never lost at anything. He has successfully defended for His people, provided for them, and destroyed the stranglehold that Satan seems to have on the world.
In times of chaos, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like God is struggling to win the battle. That’s simply not the case. On the surface, it seems like darkness is winning. Afterall, if it wasn’t, why would things be in the condition that they’re in? When you combine the first principle that we discussed today with this one, it’s easy to see that all of this is a part of God’s plan.
We have hope because we know there is One in our corner who has never lost a battle. The God, who is on our side, has an undefeated record that started thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden. If He has never failed in the past, we can rest assured that He won’t start losing now.
There’s More to it Than This
Matthew 24:6-8 (ESV)
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Finally, we have hope in the middle of these troubled times because we can rest in the words of Christ that this chaos is simply the beginning of our eternity. When a woman goes into labor with a child, she begins experiencing painful contractions before the beauty of a new life is brought forth. In the same way, the things that go on in this world that seems as though they’re chaotic, but they are really just the beginning of something beautiful.
The final, and perhaps most powerful reason that we have hope in the middle of the crises around us is found in the fact that this world is not all there is for us. The Bible is filled with powerful promises that God has a beautiful eternity in store for His people. John 14 opens with the words of Christ, letting His people know that this world is not all there is to look forward to.
While God is certainly capable of protecting His people in the present, it’s important that we understand that the present is not what we’re living for. In the same way that an expectant mother understands that painful contractions are a necessary step of the birthing process, God’s people understand that the things that Christ described in Matthew 24, many of which we’re seeing today, are a part of our embracing our eternal hope.
A Closing Prayer:
Father, in Romans 15:13, You promised that You would fill Your people with all hope, comfort, and joy. That’s what I’m asking for today. It seems as though everything around me is being thrown into chaos, but I know that You have a plan. Even more importantly, I know that You are for me, and You are with me in everything that I face. Please, help me to remain focused on my eternity, as I know that this world is not all that there is for me. In Christ’s name, Amen.