hope

So, I’ve been noticeably absent on here for quite some time for several reasons. One is that I’ve found myself increasingly reticent to spill out my thoughts for the whole world to read. It’s not that the whole world actually reads my blog, but the idea that anything posted on the internet becomes public domain has tempered my posting habits, particularly when the cultural issues at hand are delicate subjects, even among small, like-minded groups of believers. Take the Charleston shooting, for instance, or today’s ruling on marriage by the Supreme Court.

But despite that little disclaimer, I will plunge ahead.

Greater and wiser philosophers, theologians and politicians have had plenty to say on these current events, so I leave the eloquent words to them. I would, however, like to take the time to remind myself (and subsequently you) that this is not the time to despair. Yes, we should mourn over the state of our country, and yes, we should pray for repentance for those who err from God’s Word. But no, we should not fear, “for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.” (Martin Luther)

As bad news after bad news poured into the office today, a coworker turned to me and said, “Sometimes I want to ask God, What are you waiting for? Why don’t you just come now? I don’t want to hear anymore bad news! I’ve had enough bad news. Do you have any good news?”

Yes, yes I do, I thought. Heaven rules!

With the world spiraling downward at the speed of light, it’s understandable to throw up your arms in defeat and plead for the coming of our Lord, who will make right every wrong and reclaim the honor due His name. But that’s never my first response to tragedy.

Please don’t misunderstand me–I’m not saying I don’t eagerly await an eternity with the King of kings, or that open rebellion against God doesn’t grieve me. I echo the words of John in Revelation 22 when he prayed, “Come, Lord Jesus!” But I think this prayer is a longing for the presence of Christ, not an escape from this world. When Christ comes the second time, He will not come as a gentle Lamb to save the lost as He did before; He will come as the Conquering Warrior with a rod of iron, with judgment on those not found in the Book of Life.

So when things get bad, I don’t ask to be taken out of the world, I ask God to sanctify us in His Truth (John 17:14-17).

I know God is completely sovereign over everything, including the names written in that Book. He alone knows the day and the hour of His return, and all who will be welcomed into His kingdom. But since I don’t know any of that, I can only act on what I do know from scripture: that Christ died to save sinners, and He lives to give them hope. As long as man has breath in him, there is still hope for even the worst of sinners. But once a man encounters either death or judgment day, there is no longer any hope for his soul. And that grieves me.

So in the midst of tragedy and moral decline, I have peace because there is still hope. God’s grace can soften hearts of stone, so I pray for their salvation for the glory of His Name. Yes, God will also receive glory when He wins the final battle over sin and death, but until then I join the Apostle Paul in praying for all men “to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4)

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
and hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

Romans 5:1-6

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