I recently wrote about being surrounded by love and beauty. Yes, I’m a hopeless romantic and somewhat of an optimist. But I am realistic enough to know that we are also surrounded by evil. The world is full of hate, war, and despair. How sad! Is there any hope?
I maintain that there is always reason for hope when Christ is involved. He healed hopeless people who were blind, lame, demon possessed, even dead. Does He still do that today? Sometimes. But if He doesn’t, He still gives grace to endure the hardships and then hope for a brighter future in Heaven.
In this world of negativity, what can I do that will positively help people? I can’t single handedly remove poverty or stop wars. I can’t change the financial crisis for businesses who have gone under or people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. But I can let the Light of the World shine through me to the people I touch. I can help feed someone who is hungry. I can contribute to organizations who educate poor children. I can give a smile and a word of encouragement to someone who needs it. I can pray for comfort for a bereaved friend. Just a few examples. What ideas can you think of?
Living in the Roman controlled world must have been extremely difficult for people in the New Testament times. Their reality was encompassed by evil and injustice. It might have looked hopeless for Peter when he was in prison. But his friends prayed. Their faith probably lacked courage, because they were shocked when he suddenly came to their prayer meeting after an angel set him free. Paul was in prison, too, off and on. Even when he wasn’t freed from his physical shackles, he took the opportunity to witness to his jailers. He also wrote some most encouraging letters from his prison cell.
Here is the reality, though, that Peter passed on to us. He wrote: “He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:3-5, HCSB). Doesn’t that change your perspective in hard times?
Here is my prayer for you in the words of the apostle Paul. “May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope” (J. B. Phillips). Can that be reality for you today?