It seems that the world is falling apart. People are rioting in the streets due to the freedom of an election, there is death for the lost, friends that are ill, persecution of the saints and it’s getting colder with winter on it’s way. I know that last part isn’t a reflection of the world falling apart, yet it reflects the desperation of my prayers. For warmth and for my hope to become attainable! Warmth in the kindness people could show one another, warmth in healing, warmth in the sun and warmth in the gentle arms of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hope in the protection of His wing when the wind blows fierce enough to try to knock me or those whom I love over.
Finding hope in a lost world can be a daunting task. Looking around, there is so much more to be in despair about. Hope seems to be something one has to convince himself/herself of, not knowing if hope is that which is to be attained. Hope in healing, hope in kindness, hope in warmth, hope in love and hope in freedom. Is it to be? How can one be sure that hope is going to become reality? Truth of the matter is one cannot be sure of a great deal. For many, uncertainty becomes an unknown reality of which doesn’t deserve the time or effort of hope. Hope seems too far in the reaching in a world which thrives in strife. Sometimes it seems that by getting hopes up, one will only have a dashed spirit when the outcome is not what was hoped for. Completely understandable since disappointment is the human natural reaction to a crushing blow . Yet, for a Christian, this thought process seems unacceptable or improbable. Is it really? Unacceptable? Improbable? That sounds a bit irrational! After all, human nature and the human spirit do not differentiate between that of a Christian and non Christian. Right?
Wrong! The definition of human nature tells us it’s the nature of humans; especially : the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans (Websters). Yet, for a Christian, there is something else to consider. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, hence the reaction of the human spirit. The human spirit that experiences a knowledge in which human nature cannot compete with. It’s the truth and knowledge that there is something much greater than ourselves at work. Something revealed by the grace of the Lord which is more powerful than that of human nature. For a Christian, this knowledge is the understanding and acceptance that the will of man and the will of God are not always in sync. That God always has a plan, that His will is perfect and that His timing is exactly that…His! Knowing that although we are living in a world of continual unholy drama, we have trust and faith in that which we cannot control. During illness, a Christian has hope that healing will come. If healing is not to come, a Christian has the hope of eternal salvation that is yet to come. If persecuted, a Christian knows that God’s plan is perfect and there is hope in knowing that all things work for His Glory! In watching the destruction of the fallen world, a Christian has the knowledge that this is not the end, only the beginning.
(I need to pause here with a sidebar…I stopped at this point to take care of some family needs. While I was waiting at an appointment I was unable to find my phone, which I usually take a look at during such times, so I picked up the book I had also brought. It was my book that was to be finished by tonights book study with a friend. As I was reading, I was once again struck with praise to the Lord for His care over my spiritual life. Here I was, writing my blog prior to leaving the house and then I was reading the chapter that fit so well with the above. I did not know this was going to be the case when I started writing, God knew. He knew I would not need my phone as much as I needed to read that next chapter before continuing on. Praises of Thanksgiving!)
Does this mean that we as Christians just have hope and go along in our daily lives not worrying about anything or doing anything about concerns that creep up? Not at all. What we do however, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, is become driven to find resolve in the Word and through prayer. We don’t sit by and say “there’s so much more, God has this covered, I just need to sit by and watch”. Christians actively seek out and try to stay focused. It’s not an easy thing for many.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)
I mentioned how my reading of my book study was so compelling as an argument for what I’m trying to say here, that I just have to share the following notes from the book. (Book: The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung; my notes and some of the quotes below are in italics.)
A question in the book asks, “how does the spirit work in us to make us to make us holy?” Through various paragraphs my notes are such:
Prayer for Spiritual Strength
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (Ephesians 3:14-16 ESV)
Wisdom from the Spirit
6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. ( 1 Cor. 2:6-16)
The Spirit is power and light!
We can try to say all the right things to ourselves about how it will work out, yet are we going further to directly and actively seek the gospel truth in order to obtain the hope needed in persecution, illness, and fear?
“But in the pursuit of holiness we need to look at more than the past acts of redemption. We have to look forward and trust in future grace.”
Because of the future promises of blessings, our passion for hope is fueled by the power and light of the Holy spirit.
In closing, I may look crazy, sound like I’m not a realist (which happens quite often) , yet I am hopeful for a future blessing amongst the chaos that goes on around me. I am not always happy, I am not always positive, yet I strive to do my best in such times of despair to seek the council of the Lord and to trust in the wisdom that He chooses to impart my way. Am I always naturally secure in my hope? In all honesty no. However, that being said, my hope does not come through my own power of will, but through that of the Holy Spirit which gives me the strength to be secure. To locate the hope of the future blessings that He has yet to reveal. I pray that any and all adversities that I experience will be used for the greater good of sharing the gospel truth with those who may be in need. In closing, the book mentioned a quote from Martyn Lloyd -Jones which I want to share:
The New Testament calls upon us to take action; it does not tell us that the work of sanctification is going to be done for us…We are in the ‘good fight of faith’, and we have to do the fighting. But, thank God, we are enabled to do it; for the moment we believed and are justified by faith, and are born again of the Spirit of God, we have the ability. So the New Testament method of sanctification is to remind us of that; and having reminded us of it, it says, ‘Now then, go and do it’. (Marty Lloyd-Jones, Romans: Exposition of Chapter 6: The new Man)
Be well dear reader and go forth seeking hope for that which is yet to come.