Having Hope In A World That's Losing It (Article 17-10)
At the risk of discouraging some of my readers, I feel spiritually compelled to write this message. It’s a message with a theme that some may find depressing, but I suspect talks to the reality we contend with each day. It's about a nation that is losing hope. It talks to a nation, America, that has to contend with carnage and evil doings on levels that were at one time unimaginable. It's about a nation that has to contend with clashes between political and religious ideologies; random and senseless killings; the killing and injuring of our children in public schools; the "bullying" of children; serial killings; sexual assaults; drug abuse; child abuse and exploitation; human trafficking; racial discord and social injustices; hate crimes; police violence; and growing economic despair. With this, we’re losing our confidence in our Government’s ability to protect us. We see entire industries emerge to exploit and profit from our fears - home security companies, insurance companies, information technology software companies, identity theft protection services and personal protection agencies. We see a continual rise in gun purchases. According to a 2016 Fox Business Article, each year gun buyers alone contribute approximately $49 billion to the U.S. economy. Annual gun sales exceed the U.S. Home Land Security’s entire 2018 operating budget by approximately $5 billion more dollars! What are we to do?
Maybe I Have It Wrong - But I Doubt It
I fear too many Christians are living in denial to how bad things are and how bad they are yet to become. I’ve heard some say that the world is no worse today than it ever has been…it’s just the advances in informational - based technologies that make it seem the world is getting worse compared to the past. Really? It’s technological advances in telecommunications that are making many feel the world is more dangerous and unstable today than in the past? At the risk of sounding a little flip, I say such a position is a ludicrous stance. I understand why many will argue that the world is no worse today than it was in the past. After all, who wants to see a future with little or no hope for themselves and their children? The fact is that the world is getting increasingly more unstable, violent and dangerous. For those who read and study God’s Word, we know the world is to get worse, for it is prophesied.
As Christians in America, we face the same woes and worries as any other people in the world. And considering how many truly evil people can broadly grin like us, a smile is no sure indication that joy or goodness exists in our world. The real question we must seek as believers are whether or not we believe in God's promises and the teachings of Jesus Christ. If we truly do, then a sureness will be in our step, a lightness in our hearts, a sense of confidence in our words, even when face of great challenges in our lives.
There Is Hope - In Fact, There Is Great Hope
Now that the “doom and gloom” message is out on the table, I want to turn the corner by saying there is hope. In fact, there is “great” hope for our Holy Father's promises and Son's teachings tell us so. Our hope culminates at one key point - faith in God and the One He sent to the world. For if we are faithful and do believe, we are immune to the frenzy, fury, madness, and indignation around us. Instead, we will be calm and joyful. The Book of Matthew instructs us on this point. In Matthew, it states: "Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-31 ).
In the above scripture, Jesus had just finished feeding the multitudes (Matthew 14:13-18) and was heading off by Himself to pray. Before He departed, He told His disciples to get into a boat (in the Sea of Galilee) and sail to the other shore. The disciples did as they were instructed and began to sail their boat to the other side of the sea. By evening time, they were about halfway across when a great storm brewed up. The high winds began to toss the boat around. We can conclude it was a terrible storm because of even Peter, a fisherman, became very afraid that the boat would capsize and they would perish. Then Jesus appeared to them while walking above the raging waves. They cried out to Him. He told them “Be of good cheer.” In other words, He was telling His disciples that despite how bad the situation seems, not to worry and be afraid. Remain calm and in good spirit. Christ then commanded Peter to come out of the boat and walk to Him. Demonstrating great faith, Peter did as he was told and stepped out of the boat. Keeping his eyes fixed on Jesus, he began to walk to Jesus above the crashing waters. But then Peter took his eyes off of Christ when he began to re-notice the high winds and chaos below his feet. When he did, he became afraid and sank into the storming waters. He shouted out “Lord save me!” and with that, Christ stretched out His hand and lifted Peter out of the water. Christ then stepped into the boat, and the storm stopped, and all became calm.
What Christ is Telling Us
Yes, we live in an increasingly treacherous and dangerous country. Storms rage all around us. However, despite the “evening” falling on our nation (and the world) and the darkness it brings, Christ tells us not to be afraid, for He is the light of the world, and our Heavenly Father is in control. All will be fine, and we are to be joyful. We must remember though that we must keep our eyes focused on the Christ within us and must submit to His will which is at the center of our loving Father’s will. If we choose to take our eyes off of Christ, we will get caught up in the storm. Even if this happens, we need only to call out to our Lord, and He will reach out to rescue us. He will pull us back into His harbor, a calm and haven that is immune to the evilness which prevails. Remain faithful and remind yourself every day to ask the Christ in you to come forth, letting His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) reign over your life. Every day pray to the Father to give you your daily bread – your spiritual nourishment. Every day, remind you that apart from Christ, you can do nothing and as such, must abide in Him and He in us. Be assured the way, the truth and the life has already been achieved by our Savior, for He tells us "“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, also believe in Me." (John 14:1). "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. " (John 14:27).
We Must Teach and Instruct Our Children
If you have children, teach and instruct them on these things. Teach them to know that there is hope, but hope can only be found in Christ. Teach them, to not be afraid. Reassure them that all is fine and all will be fine. Tell them to go in peace and rest.