Because of the daily trials, tribulations, tragedies, and testing and very little triumphs in life, we often say that we don’t know what to make of the present time. We worry about the past and fear what will happen in the future. Let me invite us to pause and agree on this: Life is not just one thing. It’s good and bad, sickness and health, weeping and rejoicing, life and death, war and peace, all mixed together. While we cannot afford to make light of neither the negatives or positives of the present age, we can appreciate today if we don’t worry too much about tomorrow. According to Joshua Becker (2021), “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
In Romans 8:18-23, St. Paul wants us to understand two certainties: First, the present time is marked by sufferings because of mankind’s fall into sin. Paul speaks specifically to “the sufferings of this present time”. He was not referring to a difficult period in history, but to the entire present age. The whole history of creation since the fall is marked by suffering. The history of nations is marked by struggles and catastrophes---wars, natural disasters, internal conflicts, power struggles, and crimes. The history of individuals is also in large part a history of trials---the trials of growing up, figuring out what to do with your life, whom you will marry, rearing children, working through struggles in your marriage, providing
for your needs, growing old and facing health and death. Secondly, Paul says that the future is marked by blessedness for believers as God fulfills His promises to us, and he urges Christians then to endure the temporary sufferings of this life for our future glory with God, which is absolutely certain. According to Paul, God has promised it and He cannot lie.
The Key to persevering in suffering with hope is to keep your eyes on the promised future glory.
Living With Hope
We have a God in whom we can trust. His nature and promises remain unchanged in our changing world. He is not good today and bad tomorrow. He does not capriciously change his mind and decide to be kind today and harsh tomorrow. We are like that, but God is not. The following Bible verses assure us that God is our strength, refuge, and hope: "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4). Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation (Isaiah 12:2).
Hope is the Christian’s sure and confident expectation. Hope is an unbreakable spiritual lifeline to God (Heb.6:19-20). Hope is what keeps someone going against all odds. Hope is about overcoming, succeeding, and living the victorious Christian life in this world. Let’s hope for a triumphant and victorious future with God. When you are tempted to give up, remember the goodness of God. When you want to resign from life, remember the goodness of God.
Be An Encourager
If you would agree with me that God is intentional and purposeful about all that He does, then you would have to agree that God has a purpose for each one of us at a time as this. His purpose is that we individually or as family units, representing West Henrietta Baptist Church become a shining light for the testimony of Jesus Christ. The question on my mind, is how we may best serve God’s plan and purpose at this time? I encourage you that whatever else you feel called to do, you will reach out with a word of encouragement. Encouragement is to inspire with courage, and help someone to persevere. Your encouragement may be delivered with a visit compliant with COVID-19 stipulations, a phone call, a letter, or a Card. Some of us are by nature encouragers, while some have to make special effort. Nonetheless, it is required of us to encourage one another to become our better selves.
Many people are experiencing a challenge of faith resulting from sickness, financial problems, family problems, loneliness, and fear of the unknown. Connecting with members of your church family or any other Christian with a word of encouragement can help them move from fear to faith. Reaching out to each other daily with prayer and a word of encouragement is how we deepen our relationships. Praying for one another is real spiritual warfare that actually changes things, and it is worth all the time we can devote to it. Pray daily for your church - for your pastor, moderator, deacons, trustees, choir members, organist, and the
“Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” Rev. Dr. Peter E. Grinion, Pastor