Hope, our anchor in discouragement

March 23, 2010

On Sunday, the United States Congress passed a bill that allows federal funds to be used for abortions. President Obama will sign that bill into law today. Many look at this new reform as a severe blow to the long-time efforts of lobbyists, activists, and the pro-life movement in America. Some in the church of Jesus are also very discouraged, as many have been contending in prayer for righteous leaders, the ending of abortion, and the reversal of the “death decree” to babies in the womb for years.

While this is certainly disappointing news to me, it is not surprising nor does it come unexpectedly to me. In fact, it should never surprise us that the unredeemed behave wickedly and unrighteously. It’s so easy to look at the world’s unrighteousness, assume that it is the church’s mandate to “fix it” through prayer, intercession, and dominion, and then end up disillusioned, discouraged, and unhopeful when these things we contend so earnestly for do not come to pass as we pray.

But the Bible is so clear - Jesus the Messiah alone is the only one qualified, capable, and worthy to drive darkness off the face of the planet. No matter how many signs and wonders we see, how many laws change or don't change, how many cities experience revival or transformation, or how many new converts to Christianity we see in the coming years, I want to make it clear - things will never be okay here until He returns.

In times of discouragement (and even in times when things seem to be going “well”), it’s critical for us to set our minds on the “hope to which we have been called” (Ephesians 1:18), and to once again “rest our hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to [us] at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13), lest we become “weary and discouraged in [our] souls” (Hebrews 12:3). Our hope lies in the age to come, not in this age in any way.

Randy Alcorn, author of the popular book called Heaven, wrote a few statements on his blog yesterday that were right on target:

There is a gift God has given his people in all ages that has enabled them not just to hold on, but to experience fulfillment even in times of great difficulty. This gift is hope.

Biblical hope is rooted in the fact that this life and its troubles are brief experiences relative to eternity. Paul said, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

The hope of the people of God is not merely a desire or wish. It is a confidence rooted in God's promise and God's faithfulness. It is a trust that is rooted in Christ's trustworthiness and the certainty of His wonderful plan for us.

He goes on to say:

The Bible shows us we are made for a person and a place. Jesus is the person, and Heaven is the place. The amazing central truth of the Christian faith is that Jesus went to Hell on the cross for us, so that by repenting of our sin and placing our trust in his atonement, we could go to Heaven with Him.

What is our ultimate hope? God's promise that because of Christ's redemptive sacrifice, the day is coming when all that is wrong will be made right. All that now hurts will be healed.

I’d encourage you to read the rest of Randy’s blog here:

http://randyalcorn.blogspot.com/2010/03/hope-in-discouraging-times.html

If you are experiencing discouragement today because of the health care reform, may your heart be filled with “the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens” (Colossians 1:5), and may you be filled with joy as you abound in this hope alone by the power of the Spirit until His appearing.

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About the author

Joshua Hawkins is a pastor, Bible teacher, and content creator for disciples of Jesus from College Station, Texas. He co-hosts The Apocalyptic Gospel Podcast, a weekly audio show exploring how a first century Jew would have understood the Gospel. He's also an all-around tech nerd and enjoys road cycling.

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