I don’t know about you, but in these ever-darkening days, things can seem overwhelming at times. The world is shaking, kingdoms are falling, faith is failing, and friends are disappearing. It seems everywhere we look a great darkness is enveloping the land.
Not only is the secular culture getting worse by the day, but so much of the church is caving in, selling out, and turning away from biblical truth and principles. It becomes difficult to stand strong when all around us everything seems to be crumbling.
Indeed, I just read this morning some words of Jesus in Matthew 24. They sure do seem to describe the current chaos and crisis we now find ourselves in. They seem perfectly relevant to today’s cultural, political and spiritual climate, at least in the West.
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Yep, it sure seems to be what we are now going through. And in such dark times, it is so easy to get discouraged, to become completely overwhelmed, and to be tempted to just give up. I know it is this way for me so much of late. Each new day seems to bring more evil, more calamity, more betrayal, more decline – and more hopelessness.
So I need to encourage myself. I need hope. So I write this piece primarily for myself, but if it is of help to others, then that is an added benefit. So all I want to do here is offer a few passages about hope, and then a few quotes about hope. I need all the help I can get to regain hope, so here they are, in no particular order:
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You are my refuge and my shield;
I have put my hope in your word.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
And here are just a few quotes by Christians on the topic of hope. Let them speak to you along with the passages offered above:
“Without Christ there is no hope.” Charles Spurgeon
“If God can bring blessing from the broken body of Jesus and glory from something that’s as obscene as the cross, He can bring blessing from my problems and my pain and my unanswered prayer. I just have to trust Him.” Anne Graham Lotz
“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” J.R.R. Tolkien
“Our righteousness is in Him, and our hope depends, not upon the exercise of grace in us, but upon the fullness of grace and love in Him, and upon His obedience unto death.” John Newton
“You and I are unavoidably and irreducibly hope-based creatures. We are controlled not how we live now, but what we think will happen later. Christian hope has to do with the ultimate future, not the immediate.” Tim Keller
“The word hope I take for faith; and indeed hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith.” John Calvin
“A Christian will part with anything rather than his hope; he knows that hope will keep the heart both from aching and breaking, from fainting and sinking; he knows that hope is a beam of God, a spark of glory, and that nothing shall extinguish it till the soul be filled with glory.” Thomas Brooks
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Anne Lamott
“As Christians, we have no reason to lack hope. Christ has shown the trustworthiness of God and of His Word.” Chuck Colson
“The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It’s enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrows currently assail us aren’t worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon.” Joni Eareckson Tada
“Thanks be to God, there is hope today; this very hour you can choose Him and serve Him.” D. L. Moody
“The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity – hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory – because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.” J.I. Packer
“Hope is called the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ (I wish that such-and-such would take place); rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.” RC Sproul
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom
“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.” J. R. R. Tolkien
“I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.” Billy Graham
So be encouraged my friends and take hope. Christ IS our hope in a hopeless world. Hang on to that truth even when circumstances seem to tell another story. And given that this is an election year – at least in the US – some recent words of Max Lucado may provide some hope when it seems there surely is no hope in this appalling mess of an election:
We are really ready for this presidential election to be over. We’re ready for an end to the rancor and tackiness. Voters on both sides feel frustrated, even embarrassed by it all. There is a visceral fear, an angst about the result. What if so and so wins? When we wake up to November 9, post-election, when the confetti is swept away and the election is finally over, what will we see?
I have a prediction. I know exactly what November 9 will bring. Another day of God’s perfect sovereignty. He will still be in charge. His throne will still be occupied. He will still manage the affairs of the world. Never before has His providence depended on a king, president, or ruler. And it won’t on November 9, 2016. “The LORD can control a king’s mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1 NCV).