The world today is a complex and troubled place. Citizens within many nations are bitterly divided between one another by seemingly irreconcilable political and ideological differences. International relations are also fragile. At times this leads to military conflict or the threat of conflict.
The global economic picture is just as daunting. Numerous countries are mired in debt, have crumbling infrastructure, and many citizens within their borders have limited access to the basics necessary to sustain health and life. Finally, natural disasters including floods, droughts, failed harvests, earthquakes, severe weather, etc. seem to be occurring at an increasing pace. Among other things, these disasters are having a significant impact on the global food supply, leading some nations to halt food exports as they look to feed their own people.
Given the troubles faced by billions of individuals, it’s little wonder that many seem to be losing hope. Although we don’t have access to recent and reliable statistical facts, anecdotal evidence would seem to suggest that an increasing number of people are losing hope, some even choosing suicide.
It’s vitally important to realize that there is great reason to have hope. This is as important today as it has ever been. Even with all that’s happening globally, those who receive and understand the message of biblical faith can remain joyful and hopeful no matter how difficult things become. Moreover, it’s a privilege to share this joy and hope with others.
In the 13th chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus begins to focus the attention of his Disciples on very difficult things that will take place. In this and the next few chapters, Jesus speaks of his betrayal, death, and departure. He also notes that after he leaves, Christ followers will have to endure intense persecution, and even death. Throughout these warnings, Jesus offers the Disciples great hope. He describes how the Holy Spirit will guide and strengthen believers, and how even in extreme times they can have peace, joy, and hope based on the fact that Jesus will return.
Chapter 16 of John begins and ends with Jesus explaining why he has told his Disciples, and we who would come after them, about the intensely difficult times that would come. In John 16:1 (ESV) Jesus says:
I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.
These words of Jesus make it clear that many will be tempted to lose hope and to “fall away.” In other words, many will lose their faith and give up their peace, joy, and hope in the return of Jesus and then our being with him and God the Father in eternal glory. It’s very clear that Jesus does not want us to surrender to despair. That’s why he told us that very difficult times will come. Likewise, at the very end of the Chapter, in John 16:33, Jesus says:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, do not lose hope! No matter how bad things get, remember that Jesus promised to come for us. He did so in John 14:1-3. In this passage Jesus says:
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
As we face the intense and increasing troubles of the world today, those who continue to trust in Jesus can experience peace, joy, and hope in abundance. No, it’s not always easy. There will be times when we cry out to God, and when we hurt so bad that we can’t imagine how we will endure another hour. And yet, the Holy Spirit, the word of God, and fellow Christ followers are there to offer us encouragement and to give us the strength we need to persevere.
I have to be honest. I’ve seen and experienced things in my sixty years that have broken my heart. This is especially true during my times overseas. And yet, by God’s grace he called me forty years ago to place my faith and trust in him. He promised to be with me through everything. It’s by his grace that I have not fallen away as others have. I suspect that the single most important factor in this has been the word of God and the way the Holy Spirit leads me as I devote myself to it. Without God’s word, I would have folded years ago.
From beginning to end, the word of God offers us insight into the fallen human heart, and outlines God’s love and provision for us. The Scriptures encourage us to receive Jesus as our Savior, Lord, and hope. If you’ve never done so, consider placing your faith in Christ and start walking this troubled world with Jesus rather than doing so alone. To do so, I would encourage you to read the Gospel of John. After doing so, consider praying the prayer shown at the end of this article. Praying this prayer with sincerity and authenticity will change your life forever.
For those already trusting in Christ, let’s commit to encourage one another. This is especially important as times become increasingly challenging. Take the time to encourage those you most dearly love, and everyone else whom the Lord brings your way. Help them to find hope in the Lord, and in God’s word. Let them know that peace, joy, and hope are available in Christ alone.
For those needing encouragement today, consider reading Psalm 27. You can do so by clicking here. May the Lord comfort and bless you and those you most dearly love today and in the days ahead. Amen!
A Prayer of Faith
God, I recognize that like every other person on earth I am a sinner. I have followed my own way and have been on the wrong path. I confess my sins to you, and I pray that you would forgive me through the sacrifice that Jesus made as he died on the cross. I pray that you would empower me by your Holy Spirit to stay on the course outlined in your word, the Bible. Please teach me to love you and to love others as you desire, and to draw near to you and to Jesus as I journey through this life. I look forward to spending eternity with you in heaven. Amen.