Friday, June 6, 2014

How Do We Find Hope in All the Hopelessness? by Christie Smith

Preface: Please read the story of the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35. Go ahead... I'll wait.



...(still waiting on the slow readers)

Ok, so lately I've felt like these two men. I don't even watch or read the news, but these stories bombard my world anyway. They infiltrate my mind and heart and I've found myself almost hopeless that things will ever get better. Floods, fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes that kill many and leave even more devastated and homeless. That wouldn't be so bad until I hear stories of relief efforts being delayed or even taken by government. Third world countries suffer because of this daily, but even here in America, the greed and selfishness of those who are in charge of the well-being of its citizens is sickening. Then you have the mass-shootings and murders and abuse that seem to be an everyday headline of the five o'clock news. Thousands of children are being sold into slavery in the sex trade industry and it's not even a big deal for most of us when we hear it. Sure, we let out the uniform, "Oh wow! That is horrible!" statement. But it pretty much ends there. Because what can we do...really? Even when someone invests their whole life into a cause, what difference does it really make in the effort as a whole? Hopeless. It all seems hopeless!

That's what happens when I look at these stories with worldly eyes. I forget to focus on the facts. And as Christians, our facts are found in His Word. This is exactly what Jesus does for these two hopeless men who have just seen the one they were hoping was THE ONE be crucified and put in a tomb. I love the Message version of the following verses, "Then he said to them, 'So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?' Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him."

Yep. Thick-headed and slow-hearted. That's me. Jesus started at the beginning for them and walked them through the Scriptures. Then they recognized that this was Jesus with them. Verse 32 says,  "Back and forth they talked. 'Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?'"

"Didn't we feel on fire?" It's been a while since I've felt "on fire." But if you notice from the verse, they felt on fire when Jesus conversed with them and opened up the Scriptures.

So, that's my mission in these times that overwhelm me. Now, more than ever, I need to focus on Him and on what His Word tells me. There is no other hope in a world that is nearing its end. That is a fact. It's going to end, and in the process it's going to get pretty bad. But we have hope because we know the end. We know who holds the past, present, future...and the His hands. Do you believe that? Do you really BELIEVE that? Then not only is there nothing to worry about or lose hope over, but we have every reason to be joyful in these days of violence and catastrophy. We shouldn't lose hope, but instead we should be full of hope and live 
"on fire" in the truth of Jesus and all that He has promised! Don't focus on the stories of this world, but on the Scriptures. Bring your focus back to Him and your heart will start to burn with His passion once again. Only through Jesus revealing Himself through His Word will our hope be restored and will always remind us that even though we cannot see Him, He is always with us!

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