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By Shari Abbott, Reasons for Hope* Jesus

We live in troubling times.  Everyday we hear of senseless murders in our cities of our nation, in other counties, and even in the wombs of mothers who believe the lie that the baby they carry is not a human life.  We hear of brothers and sisters in Christ, around the world and in our country, who are being persecuted, and some killed, for professing Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

How could our world be in such chaos?  God created man as the crowning glory of His creation (Psalm 8:5) and God endowed man with a mind that was to be directed by His Holy Spirit.  Sadly, when Adam sinned, not only did his spiritual condition change, so also did his mental condition.  Just as man’s body began to die, so also did man’s mind.  His mind became subject to a “death” of confusion and darkness in his own thoughts and temptations and deceptions from the evil one who seeks to devour and kill (1 Peter 5:8, John 10:10).

What a dangerous world each generation has inherited since the day when Adam sinned.  Every generation has experienced the evil of sin, the increasing disorder in a world that rejects God and denies His Word.

Perhaps no one in the Bible exemplified a heart filled with grief over the condition of his day more than the prophet Jeremiah.   Recorded in the book of Lamentations are his groans of lament as he overwhelmingly grieved for the sins of His people, as well as the decimation of God’s holy city Jerusalem and the utter destruction of God’s holy house, the Temple, by the Babylonians.

Lamentations is the bleakest book in the Bible.  The name itself means “ to cry aloud” and it contains five melancholy poems of despair and mourning. We listen as the prophet Jeremiah weeps about the events of his day, the sins of his nation and the righteous judgments of his God.

Lamentations 1:5  Her [Jerusalem’s] adversaries have become the master, her enemies prosper; For the LORD has afflicted her because of the multitude of her transgressions. her children have gone into captivity before the enemy.

Lamentations 2:2-3  The Lord has swallowed up and has not pitied all the dwelling places of Jacob. He has thrown down in His wrath the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He has brought them down to the ground; He has profaned the kingdom and its princes.  He has cut off in fierce anger every horn of Israel; He has drawn back His right hand from before the enemy. He has blazed against Jacob like a flaming fire devouring all around.

We also grieve like Jeremiah, when we hear the news of another murder, see the blasphemy of the world and fear the bleakness of the future.  Our groans grow louder every day and every groan should bring a lament, “a cry out” to our God:

Creation Groans

Romans 8:22  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

We Groan

Romans 8:23  Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

We groan, knowing the way things should have been.  We groan knowing the way things are now.  And we groan for the bleakness of the future in a world that is becoming increasingly dark.  We groan for our need to be close to our God, to feel His presence and to find our comfort and hope in His arms.  And with every groan and the laments of our hearts, we know that in Him we find the hope we need.

In the midst of Jeremiah’s weeping and groans of anguish, the prophet remembered that his hope was in the Lord.

Lamentations 3:21-26  This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.  Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”  The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.  It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.

We should groan.  Romans 8 tells us we will groan.  It also tells us that we do not groan in hopelessness.

I leave you with two thoughts today.  Just as Jeremiah recalled God’s goodness to His mind, Paul recalls to our minds the hope we have:

Romans 8:20-21  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;  because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Romans 8:24-25  For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

In the Garden, immediately after Adam sinned, God promised hope and deliverance. When we are overwhelmingly grieved as Jeremiah was, we have a hope even greater than he did.  We have Jesus with us, through the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will fill us with the patience to persevere…and, when we are totally overwhelmed, the Spirit will cry-out to God for us.

Romans 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

listen through my heart

The Holy Spirit is an ever-present light in our darkness.  He is the reason Jesus promised, “”I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) and “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

 

Our hope is in God.  Our hope is in Jesus.  Our hope is in the Holy Spirit.  And our hope is renewed in our minds when we recall God’s Words.  Read your Bible and find “rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…” (Psalm 37:7), knowing that one day He will make all things new (Revelation 21:5)

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