Hopeful Thoughts in an Unprecedented Time
Written by Thomas Bluemling, FBC Church Member
As I look at the things which are going on in the world, I am tempted, like many Christians, to focus my attention on worrying. I am tempted to engage my mind to be completely preoccupied with what is happening and what might happen. So I would like to stir both myself and others to the remembrance of some key perspectives which I believe we need to have at the forefront of our minds.
Nothing is Out of Control (in the ultimate sense)
Of course, many things are out of course when looked at from a human standpoint or a governmental standpoint, but one of the great keys to abiding in a state of peace is a deep realization that God is in control. God tells me in His word that He is allowing all of this to occur for His glory (Psalms 76:10, 92:7, Acts 17:26, Romans 9:22-23, 8:28, Revelation 4:11); so why should I place my personal comfort above God’s glory? If God’s glory is my first priority, I must accept that evils that occur—though they are evil—will all serve to glorify God. It must have been perplexing for the disciples to understand how Jesus being murdered could be glorifying to God, but it was!—and how glorious it is now that we have a greater view of it! Even when Jesus was betrayed into the hands of sinners, nothing fell out of the hands of God. I think we do well to reflect on that.
Times of Testing are Normal (So let’s not worry ourselves to death about them)
Satan would love to get us all worked up about possible trials we may face. It is amazing how much terror he can generate even when our lives are being sustained, we have been fed, and we have clothes to wear. But what are we so afraid of? Think about this: We know for a fact that times of testing and persecution will come upon all true Christians from time to time. Tribulations (John 16:33), persecutions (2 Timothy 3:12), and even the chastening of God (Hebrews 12:6) are all promised. We don’t need to sit around wondering if these things are going to occur. They are going to occur; so why should worrying about tomorrow’s trials—which are superintended by God to refine and bless us—ruin the blessings of today? I’m not saying that we should be naïve or foolhardy. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be aware of what’s going on or take wise courses of action. I am only saying that if Satan can lead us to excessive worrying about possible trials, and if he can make us view trials us horrible things that we must avoid at all costs, then he can rob us of today’s joy. The Bible gives us a radically different perspective when it comes to trials:
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
We are Headed for Glory!
I love the fact that we are commanded to rejoice in hope (Romans 12:12). Hope here does not refer to a wish, but to a confident expectation! God commands us to rejoice! Sometimes we focus so much on this present fallen world that we half forget the excitement about what is coming soon for those who believe. The Bible says, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) Think about how, in a very short time, we are going to be gathered around the throne singing praises to our Savior! People get excited about many things in this fallen world, but nothing this world offers can compare to the rejoicing of the body of Christ in glory!
Let’s Not Forget Others
Like every Christian, I am so grateful for the people who God used to bring me to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ! It is only right that I also should take my place in that line of saints which leads back to Jesus Himself. Generation after generation the gospel has been shared and more and more sinners have been brought into the kingdom. So let’s not show up for glory without having done everything we could to bring others along with us! Can it be uncomfortable to hand someone a gospel message? Yes. Does it require us to overcome fears? Yes. But despite all of that, we all know that we will have no regrets when we come to glory and see all of our brothers and sisters who God used us to bring to salvation! The apostle Paul said, “I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:10)
The Food Distribution ministry is just one method that God has opened up to us to meet people in our city. We are blessed to have had the opportunity to deliver over 5,000 meals from the schools to children. Just being out in the community has enabled us to meet people and serve them. But we haven’t only given them food. We have shared the love of Christ with them. How is the love of Christ different from the love of secular organizations that also hand out food—some of them much more food than us? What made the love of Jesus unique was that He told people the truth. Many didn’t like Him for it, but they had been loved whether they realized it or not. This kind of love also marked Paul’s ministry. He was willing to spend and to be spent, but he loved sinners too much to hold back the truth. He said to the Ephesians elders, “Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia…I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house…” (Acts 20:18,20) While we have been distributing food, we have also been distributing gospel messages and evangelistic devotionals for children. Let’s pray that the Lord will send more laborers into the harvest, open up doors of utterance, and give them both gentleness and boldness to share the gospel of Jesus Christ!