We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure.
Chattanooga. San Bernandino. Orlando… And now Dallas.
All too frequently we learn of yet another act of violence, another tragic loss of life, and we wonder what in the world is going on?!?
While the immediate circumstances of these tragedies may differ, the same feelings of fear, helplessness, and anxiety are aroused in us. As Christ-followers, we are certainly not immune to these emotions, but we should not be enslaved to them either. Instead, we can grieve, but with hope (I Thessalonians 4:13). We can light the candle of our faith instead of cursing the darkness these tragedies exemplify (Matthew 5:14; Ephesians 5:8-10).
As we grapple with tragedy, adversity, violence, evil, and all the associated emotions, our faith in God gives us secure, unshakable anchors to weather the storm, endure with hope & joy—not with fear or cynicism—and in humility offer a compelling vision that points to the ultimate solution the collective heart of humanity craves.
The Anchor of Expectation
Modernism encourages us to put all our hopes within our life expectancy—which we are continually seeking to lengthen. When these hopes are threatened or not met, then we experience fear, worry, and anger. But hopes isolated to this world, for our physical bodies, and for circumstantial security are deceptive and bound to disappoint. Christianity is a 100% realistic faith offering the sobering truth that the world is broken, humans are sinful, and earth is not our home. Against this backdrop, God entered this world and defeated death offering a proven hope beyond physical life. So one of the fundamental shifts for the born again Christ-follower is moving most of our expectations & hopes to the future grace of God that will come either after we physically die or after Jesus returns (I Peter 1:3-4).
The Anchor of God’s Sovereignty & Goodness
Remember that God is at war with pride, human independence, and the deception of self-sufficiency (Proverbs 3:34: James 4:6; I Peter 5:5); yet so much of the hope promoted today is in our ability to fix problems we create.
Does watching the news encourage you to hope in politics, public policy, human will or self-improvement? Does taking a look at your own heart with its tendency toward pride, self-centeredness, faithlessness, and self-righteousness encourage you to hope in yourself?
Be humbled and sobered by the fact that the same sin nature found in the Dallas sniper and the ISIS terrorists resides in me and in you. Not popular but true. And these truths can push us to anchor ourselves in God’s sovereign goodness displayed and given through the completely undeserved and 100% free grace of God found in Jesus.
God is in charge even though things He explicitly forbids (like murder and racism) occur in the world. God was in charge even when He died on the Cross. Let’s not fear the mystery of these magnificent truths but embrace the fact His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8) and judge His power, goodness, and mercy by the Cross and Resurrection, not by the front page of the paper.
The Anchor of Jesus’ Vision
Jesus did more than die on a cross. In His teaching and living, He offers a vision of what it truly means to be human, of how to live in this world, and of how to move forward in the direction He is taking history. This vision, this life, and this future are all blood-bought, Holy Spirit-empowered, and fully backed by the God who raises the dead. In other words, we are not banking on empty promises from just another talking head in the history of humanity.
But there’s more … we are actually commissioned to work on behalf of Jesus to help bring His vision to fruition. We are enlisted into the King’s army, yet our weapons are not those protected by the 2nd Amendment; our weapons are the Word of God, sacrificial love, and the revelation of Who Jesus is (Colossians 1:13-20). Jesus is alive and only He can change the human heart, heal the soul, inspire eternal allegiance, and teach us to how to live above our circumstances.
Let’s hope in Him and commit anew to His vision of a new community of people brought together by His blood, captivated by His glory, and living lives of sacrificial good deeds done in His Name!
**Rock Bridgers, for more information on demonstrating the hope of Jesus to our communities, visit www.bethehope.cc.