In December, a staff member of FIRM shared a message of hope with our local partners in Israel. We were so encouraged that we wanted to share it with you as well.
A Message of Hope in the Uncertain World
In the unpredictable journey of these last few years, we have faced some harsh realities and unexpected obstacles to our faith. Most of us – both personally and corporately – have navigated significant challenges and transitions. And many have experienced deep disappointments along the way.
Somehow, it seems that this season has magnified the fractures in our world, the brokenness of humanity, and the frailty of our own hearts. In all honesty, these last few years simply did not turn out the way many of us had hoped or planned.
Perhaps you can relate?
And yet, Scripture reminds us that we are in this world but not of it. We are invited to participate in a divine adventure throughout this earth journey and into eternity. It is an adventure with the Living God who takes us from faith to faith, from glory to glory, until we are transformed into His image.
He is the Eternal One enthroned in majesty, reigning high above the chaos of this broken world. And yet He is Emmanuel – God with us, ever present in the midst of the mess.
In times like these, the Lord invites us to reflect on the magnitude and beauty of our eager expectation and confident hope.
In Romans 8:18 we read, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”
All Creation, and we ourselves, groan in expectation for freedom from bondage and corruption. We yearn for the full revelation of God’s glorious salvation.
“For we know that for those who love God ALL things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
Hope beckons our hearts heavenward, with eager expectation for a divine reality that we do not yet see in full. Yet our current reality may seem starkly different from this promise.
Expectation Mixed with the Pain of Loss
The eager expectation of hope often involves waiting and painstaking character development. We may walk through disappointment, detours, frustrations, and even the death of dreams.
Over the last few years, most of us have experienced loss on a variety of levels.
We have seen loss of basic freedoms and severe disruption to our normal rhythms of life. Many have known crippling financial loss, the loss of property, opportunities, health, and joy. We’ve witnessed a rapid decline in human civility.
And we’ve lost essential fellowship with family and community. We’ve buried hopes and dreams, and even loved ones.
Even through tears and sorrow, we hold fast our eager expectation and cling to the God who fulfills His promises. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God, knowing that the fruit of suffering is endurance, character and hope that does not put us to shame – because of the God of love (Rom 5:3-5 paraphrase).
Hope from the Word of God
In Philippians 1:19-21, Paul encourages eternal perspective with confident hope,
“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:19-21
Yeshua alone is the one who can bring forth life from death, and divine restoration in every area of loss. With eager expectation we can stand with the hope of the prophet Zechariah,
“Return to your stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.” Zechariah 9:12
Even in times of loss, our God is a God of restoration.
From Out of This World
And still, the current reality fights for our attention. We see the futile hope of worldly systems of government and commerce. Also, the disappointment of waiting in vain for real and lasting change. We’ve watched political tensions and pandemic controversies polarize families and turn even strong believers against one another.
Like worldly soldiers, many believers have become entangled with the affairs of this life and have abandoned – even if momentarily – our rightful post.
But as those redeemed by the priceless blood of Yeshua, we are co-heirs with Messiah, seated with Him in heavenly places! With Him, we are far above every argument and high thing that would exalt itself against the knowledge of God.
We serve the God who makes the valley of trouble a doorway of hope, a place where even songs of joy and adoration can burst forth from the wilderness places (Hosea 2:15).
Our expectation is for this divine reality.
He Has Never Lost a Generation
Nevertheless, we see a deluge of ideologies and worldviews that are opposed to the truth of God’s Word flooding our society. We are provoked by a world growing ever more alive to self, cold to love and dull to truth.
We have seen loved ones turn away from faith. Prodigal sons and daughters get entangled by the thorns of this present age. We’ve seen youth – and perhaps even ourselves – wrestle with identity and mental health, moral decay, substance abuse, depression, fear and anxiety.
And our hearts break. In many ways, these days have challenged us. And more such times may come.
Yet we know, God has never lost a generation. He is Love who relentlessly pursues.
The God of divine adventure calls us higher. Our eager expectation and our confident hope are in the One who spoke forth light out of darkness and who calls the stars by name. He is the Author of Life who conquered death and lives forevermore.
Return to First Love… and Hope
Have these days in any way dulled our hope or diminished our expectation?
If so, we may need to pour out some raw and ugly prayers before the Lord. Expose any decay and disappointment harbored in our frail hearts. We may need to take bold steps of repentance, to seek true reconciliation in relationships that have suffered in this season.
We may need to cast out pervasive fears and doubts, that have taken up residence in our hearts, to open our mouths in faith-filled declaration of our Living Hope. This hope, like a bonded cord, tethers us to Yeshua Himself.
So, we press on to know you, Lord, your going out is as sure as the dawn; you will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth (Hosea 6:3).
We believe the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). You are the God who brings forth justice to the nations (Isaiah 42:1).
Your way is perfect, your Word proves true; you are a shield for all who take refuge in you (Psalm 18:30). You are the God who hears and answers prayer. Your purposes for Israel and for the nations will come to fruition. Your Word will not return empty but will accomplish your purposes.
The Foundation of Our Hope
Our eager expectation is that one day, this mortal flesh will put on immortality, this corruption will be transformed incorruptible, the Lord will wipe away every tear, and tear away the veil that is cast over all nations. And He will swallow up death forever (1 Corinthians 15:54; Isaiah 25:7-8).
And together we will say, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9
This is our eager expectation and confident hope.
One day, we will all cross the threshold from earth to eternity. Yet today, in the midst of these days, our Living Hope beckons us deeper into the adventure of bringing heaven’s divine reality to earth.
This article originally appeared on FIRM and is reposted with permission.