There is so much hopelessness in the world right now. Terrorist attacks, mass murders, and wars are constantly in the news. Earthquakes, wildfires, and famines are barely worth mentioning anymore. Morality appears to be gone as the world glorifies sin and rejects biblical values. The economy remains flat and politics just can’t be explained anymore.
The result of all this hopelessness can be anger and frustration, sadness and loss, confusion and defeat.
How are you handling all this bad news? Are you venting your anger on social media? Are you internally feeling a sense of loss, remembering how things use to be? Have you reached the point of defeat where you just feel numb to things?
As Christians, we cannot let the hopelessness get to us. What does it show to the world when Christians are responding to the bad news in the exact same way as everyone else?
We must offer the hope that is missing. Thankfully, diving into God’s Word we find our source for lasting hope, no matter how bad the world gets.
Take comfort; God is in control.
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’ - Isaiah 46:9-10
We must remember at all times that God is always in control. He is the creator of all things. There are no other gods besides him. Satan has no power over him or his plans. God’s wisdom is beyond human understanding. While things can sometimes appear to be out of his control, they are not. He uses all things to accomplish his purposes, and for the good of those that love him (Romans 8:28).
Being in control, God knows all things, including what is to come. That is why Jesus was able to warn us that before his return the world would increase in wickedness and we would experience everything we are seeing around us.
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” - Matthew 24:6-14
This warning might not give us a feeling of hope, especially as you read that persecution will increase and some will face death because of their faith, but the good news is that God didn’t leave us with just this prediction, he also equipped us to handle it.
God has equipped us for this moment.
When Jesus left this world, he told the disciples that it was for their good that he was leaving because it allowed for the Holy Spirit to come.
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. - John 16:7
As Christians, God’s Spirit lives in us too!
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? - 1 Corinthians 3:16
The Holy Spirit equips us with the power to do the will of God. By ourselves, we are ordinary, weak, sinful humans. Filled with God’s Spirit, we are able to live as new creations, filled with his boldness and spiritual gifts.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. - 2 Timothy 1:7
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. - Ephesians 5:22-23
We have our sword, God’s Word, to fight off the hopelessness.
In addition to the Holy Spirit, God has given us a sword, his Word, to fight off the attacks of this world. We must remember that our battle is a spiritual battle and Satan’s attacks come in the form of lies. Therefore, using God’s Word, which is the truth, we are able to identify the lies and overcome them. This is exactly what Jesus did to defeat Satan’s temptations after 40 days of fasting.
So while Satan tries to whisper in our minds that we have every reason to be hopeless, we are able to open God’s Word and be reminded of the wonderful truths from God:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:35-39
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. - John 14:27
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10
Focus on the Mission
God did not leave us on the earth to survive until his return. Instead, he has given us all a mission to tell the whole world the good news about Jesus.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
The hopelessness we see and feel is a screaming reminder that we have work to do right now. God has a plan and purpose for every one of us, which is why he called us out of darkness (1 Peter 2:9). He has given us talents, abilities, and passions in life and we need to pray that God would show us how to use them all to accomplish his work. When we are focused on this mission, we are looking to God and he will give us strength and joy to keep running.
We have the hope for this lost world. When people see that we have an unshakable joy and peace, they will ask for the reason for the hope that we have and we get the awesome opportunity to share the good news about Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). God is in control and has equipped us to stand in these tough days. He has also called us to go and, as we can see, that call is urgent. Let’s go!