People today, like never before, need hope. Our world is facing some serious issues. Terrorism, the failing global economy, the AIDS epidemic…the list goes on and on. And individually, many of us are facing discouraging personal issues in our jobs, families, and relationships – all of which leave us feeling fearful, anxious and overwhelmed. At some point we might wonder, “What’s the world coming to?”
So how do we cope when we’re faced with so many discouraging issues both in the world and in our own lives? And where do we find hope amidst so much uncertainty when our tendency is to only focus on our current circumstances and hardships?
The Disciple John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote the book of Revelation to a specific people who, like us, were living in very difficult times. Many were in danger of losing hope and struggling with faith. For John, it was also the most discouraging time in his life. He was old, all alone, exiled to the island of Patmos, all his friends had been killed, and the Roman Emperor Domitian was heavily persecuting the Christian church.
Struggling and ready to give up, John badly needed some hope and reassurance. Many of us have probably felt similar to John, who was so confused and alone he probably felt like God had left him. So Jesus offered a much-needed message of hope to John and to the church (that’s you and me).
Jesus’ message can be summed up in Revelation as this: Don’t be discouraged. I am in control.
Jesus is our hope; therefore, we can be hopeful about:
- Our future — Jesus is coming back as the righteous and perfect judge and everyone will know Him. Our future with Him is certain. “‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’ and ‘every eye will see him, even those who pierced him’ and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’ ‘So shall it be! Amen.'” (Rev. 1:7)
- His provision — Jesus is our hope and peace. As His children, we are secure, loved, and forgiven. We’re also empowered us to serve His kingdom in a fallen world.
- His presence — Jesus promised us that we are never alone and His presence is always with us. In Deuteronomy, the Father said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (36:1) And in Revelation, Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega…who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8)
- His power – Jesus, as the ultimate authority, will judge the world. Justice will prevail. Evil people will be fully compensated for their deeds and we as God’s children will be justly rewarded. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Rev. 1:17-18)
We need to realize that when life gets really hard, the only place we should place our hope and trust is in God and never in people, things and circumstances. When we put our hope in someone or something that we think is going to be the key to our satisfaction and happiness, we actually put ourselves in a no-win situation. Jesus is our eternal hope!
Are you willing to listen to the God’s voice instead of looking at your present circumstances for reassurance? God knows exactly how it’s all going to end because He’s in control! This should not only give us hope, but also assurance and peace.
This week, we’re beginning the series, The Revelation: Living Daily with the End in Mind. In it, we will explore the deeper meanings, imagery and the metaphors in the book of Revelation, which is often a misunderstood part of Scripture. It’s my prayer that through this series God will bring us greater perspective, clarity and purpose to our everyday struggles like never before. Ready to get started?
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip