My heart’s intent with this post is to encourage you. Yes, we have finally shed the skin of 2020, and have entered a new year, but as we all know, this past year has taken an emotional toll on many. And, its’ effects linger still. I find that that when I get a bit down or discouraged, the best way out of my hazy grey thinking, is to look to God and remind myself of songs like Psalm 121:1 that says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth . . .” (Read the rest of the Psalm. It just gets better and better!)
So, to encourage you, I mostly want to gently remind you of where our help does NOT come from! You see, if our Ultimate Hope is in God Himself, and, the many ways His promises and Presence break through to us on a daily basis as we walk with and trust Jesus (2 Cor.1:20), then this will/should radically shape how we both hold onto and let go of any lesser hope. Gratitude. I thank God that my hope is not in a political party or any candidate. I promise this will not turn into a political rant. We are all so tired of the political poison the pundits are throwing about. Yet again, we must remind ourselves as followers of King Jesus, He has NEVER been more or less sovereign based on who does or doesn’t get elected. And, while it is perfectly reasonable and expected for us to be either happy (our guy/gal won) or disappointed (our guy/gal lost) in relation to elections, we, the elect of God, have an eternal home and citizenship in heaven (Phil.3:20) that is FAR more influential upon our lives and this world than any political party or candidate. Gratitude. I thank God that He is not overjoyed/relieved, or, wringing His hands in worry, over whether “His guy” got elected or not. I have watched many on social media that, if you were only reading their posts over the last several weeks and days, you would either think we are entering a social utopia (their guy won!) or on the opposite end of things, the dark ages (their guy lost!). Again, God is neither overjoyed or worried and nor should we be in regards to this election (Phil.4:4-9). Gratitude. Thank Him for songs like Psalm 2 where we read, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” (Ps.2:1-4).
I could say SO much more, but let me close with some thoughts from the prophet Isaiah. Many of you know I will begin a series on Isaiah on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. I encourage you to come for the start of this series. Anyway, as you might know, every Old Testament prophet had a two-fold emphasis that runs through each book. The themes/emphasis are Judgment and Hope. Isaiah writes during a very dark social and politically tumultuous time. God’s people cannot see His glory, though Isaiah in His vision gets a glimpse of it (Isa.6). In Isaiah ch.1 we see Jerusalem sinful, broken down and idolatrous. She will be judged for her rebellion. Yet, by the end of the book, we see hope for God’s people. God said, “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.” (Isa. 65:17-18). We must ask: “What happened between Isaiah ch.1 and ch.65 and 66, the end of the Book? God’s Servant happened (Isa.chs.42, 43, 49, 52-53). God’s branch, happened. Jesus happened. He is our hope and the Ultimate Promise for which we are waiting, working, and witnessing toward in this world. If we are joined to Jesus by faith, we have both died with him and one day we will be raised with him to a full and new Home in Heaven! We have come to a new Jerusalem (Gal.4:26)! This trajectory of renewal is the story of Isaiah and it’s the story of the whole Bible. It can also be our story as we entrust ourselves to Jesus who died for our sins. Are we looking forward to being with him in a new creation? Yes, this world is going down. We should not be surprised or worried. We are told because we “are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. . .” (2 Pet.3:10; Heb.12:27-28). Gratitude. Thank you Jesus that Your “Father is not slow in keeping his promise. For we know the heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought we to be? We ought to live holy and godly lives as we look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” (2 Pet. 3:9-11). As we wait with hope, gratitude, and joy, and, without a fretting worrisome spirit, we look to You King Jesus, as we read, “Yes, I am coming soon.” And we say, “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) And, may a watching world whose only hopes seem to be in the sinking ship of this fallen planet, see in us, God’s people, ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus upon us” (Re.22:21). Amen.