If ever we needed to hold onto hope, it’s now.
Every day the news broadcasts some fresh horror that creeps closer to home. I don’t read every story, but I tune in enough to glimpse the chaos whirling past.
It reminds me of a merry-go-round. Do you remember them? Most schoolyards had one and it was the hit of recess—until the ubiquitous bully came along. He’d grab one of the iron bars and spin it. Hard. Again and again. Faster and faster delighting in our screams and scramble toward the center column for safety. Then he’d step back, laughing while we clutched the bars, chins tucked to chests as the centrifugal force pulled and sucked, prying us loose to fling us into the waiting dirt and sand.
Sometimes that’s what the news headlines feel like to me; a merciless force working to suck me off my safe perch and fling me into the arms of fear. Each “breaking story” creates a new scramble for safety as we lock our doors and double check our windows; afraid to go to work, to school, to bed. World events can evoke such a spirit of helplessness.
But God is not helpless.
“[God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. Isaiah 40:22-24
God reigns as King over His creation. Nothing is beyond His power and He provides something we can hold on to amidst the chaos:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (Emphasis mine)
This hope doesn’t rest on a trumped-up spirit that “good will prevail.” It is an extraordinary hope anchored in solid ground. It’s a hope that is unmoved in the face of the greatest threat, the most powerful forces, the deepest pit hell can unleash. The “God of hope” has a name —
— His name is Jesus.
From first light at creation to the final curtain of human history, Jesus is our only hope. [Tweet “Jesus is our only hope.”]
Here are three reasons why:
1. Evil is real.
Sin is the root of the evil we see scrolling across the news feed on our phones. Sin is rebellion against God. We rebel against God when we reject His authority and go our own way; when we refuse to love, obey, and honor Him. Every time we say “No” to God, sin is born. Chuck Swindoll once said, “Those who choose sin are the source of it.”
Sin was introduced by Satan, ingested by Adam and Eve, and passed to all of humanity. Generation after generation, millennia upon millennia, sin has stained every facet of creation. There is evil in the world because there is sin in the world.
2. God will judge sin.
“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” II Thessalonians 1:7-9
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
No one gets away with anything and those responsible for the tsunami of evil rising around us will be called to account.
But our greatest concern shouldn’t be the evil we see on the news or the latest bomb threat. We are all mortal and death will come to all of us eventually, by whatever means. It’s what happens afterwards that should occupy our thoughts:
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
All of us will face God as judge unless we turn from our own sin and seek God’s remedy for it; forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ.
God is just and judges ALL sin, yet hope is at the center of God’s heart. [Tweet “Hope is at the center of God’s heart.”]
“Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!” Ezekiel 33:11
Jesus provided a way for everyone to receive forgiveness for sin when He offered Himself as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for sin. Jesus gave His perfect life in exchange for our sinful one. Through His death He secured salvation from sin’s consequences and eternal life for all who trust Him as their personal Lord and Savior.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (Emphasis mine)
Jesus can save anyone. He offers the gift of salvation to “whosoever” trusts in Him. “Whosoever” includes everyone; you, me, those steeped in sin, those living “good” but imperfect lives, even those bent on evil, like shooters and terrorists. Only Jesus has the patience, the unimaginable mercy to offer forgiveness to those who yet rail against Him . . .
” . . . but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Jesus sacrificed Himself to give every “whosoever” hope for this life and the next. Jesus provides everyone the chance to turn from their sin, receive His gift and approach a holy God without fear, shame, or guilt. He did this so God could envelop us with His love and fill us with His peace. No matter how violently the world spins, God is in control and He is a refuge for those who trust in Him.
“The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as king forever.” Psalm 29:10
Just as surely as He reigned during Noah’s time of unprecedented evil amidst cataclysmic events, Jesus holds the reins during our troubled times. Even now, Jesus sits enthroned as King of Kings, judging evil, forgiving sin, restoring hope.
Friends, our world is spiraling, but our God is not. [Tweet “Our world is spiraling, but our God is not.”] He remains firmly ensconced on His throne. Yes, we have a hope we can hold onto and His name is Jesus.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews” 6:19