Last night I was teaching a Bible study and I asked the question – “Who should be leading our country and our communities with words of hope and a spirit of optimism?” For this blog I thought I would add in “our world” to the equation. What do you think?
The answer I came up with is the people of God. If we align ourselves with the truth of God as revealed to us in Jesus and described to us in the Bible, should we not have the greatest words of hope and should we not be displaying the greatest spirit of optimism? If we believe that God’s purpose will ultimately be fulfilled over any earthly power or person’s purpose, should we not be confident in our future? And shouldn’t the people around us be seeing that kind of spirit flowing from the people of God?
I’m afraid that this is not the picture or the spirit we share with the community, the country, or the world. In my experience the people of God sound just like the people of the world – and I include myself in that group. We are ready to join our neighbors in bemoaning the current state of affairs. Whether we are unhappy because we believe Republicans got us into this mess or because we believe the Democrats are getting us into a bigger one, we speak as those who do not believe that God’s purpose will be fulfilled and in Him we find life and peace and joy – even in tough times.
My point is not that Christians should pray more and trust that God will keep them from suffering. My goodness, Jesus prayed a lot and look at the suffering he went through! But in the midst of his suffering what did he show us? He showed us that he trusted God to see him through – and God did. When God raised Jesus up to new life, when the resurrection happened it was the signal, the trumpet call on the mountain of God – God’s purpose will ultimately be fulfilled, Jesus is alive and that is proof of God’s promise.
Will we face suffering like everyone else? Good chance we could even face more. But, for those who need a word of hope and a spirit of optimism, what would it say if we faced our struggle with faith and an unwavering spirit of trust in God? What would it say if in the midst of our own struggle we gave everything we have and all that we are to help “non-believers” make it through? Seems to me it would say – This is our way of showing you that God is here with you and longs to see you through. You may not believe, but we’ll help you through your struggle and we’ll believe for you until you are willing to believe for yourself.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)
Holy high five to you, Mike.