By Shari Abbott, Reasons for Hope* Jesus
Life is tough…and it seems to be getting more and more difficult every day. If it’s not tough at this moment for you, I’m sure you know that it will be soon. One of life’s challenges is likely not far off. So we must all ask, are we prepared to face life in a fallen and broken world.
I think everyone would agree that the world in which we live is disheartening and discouraging in many ways. We see a growing number of people moving farther and farther away from God and we hear news reports filled with the devastating consequences of sin.
We live in a time that should be called the “screen generation.” Everyone is “on” a screen of some sort. We learn from, and are entertained by, theater, TV, computer, tablet or phone screens. While these “screens” can deliver content that is godly and beneficial, they also offer sinful and destructive content with images showcasing the seductions of worldly lust and the sins of fleshly desires. What we see and hear on these screens enters our minds and influences both our thinking and living.
Whether we like it or not, screens are the new way to connect with friends and family. It’s true that we’ve never been more connected, but we’ve also never been more disconnected. Phone calls that offered personal interaction have been replaced by text messages…the shorter the better. And FaceBook has turned the personal diary or journal into a public platform for every thought, word and activity. It’s amazing what can be learned by reading someone’s FaceBook page. It’s a window to the soul that, in some cases, reveals more than should be told.
Sadly, far too many people can’t seem to take their eyes off the screens. Electronic connectivity is contributing to a breakdown in interpersonal communication skills that is troublesome at best and destructive at worst. Most of the branding and messaging that people see and hear is telling them to get more and to be more.
The “narcissism meter” in our nation is at an all time high. The kingdom of self is rapidly expanding. People are seeking their satisfaction in what they can get…not what they can give. People are conforming to the world to get what they want. They don’t understand that worldly things and fleshly pleasures will never satisfy. As a result, depression increases and sadness abounds, and…
There’s No App for That
The solution to “iSad” is not an App. You can’t “touch” your way through a couple screens and find real comfort and peace. You might find a few platitudinous thoughts that will provide temporal comfort in difficult circumstances, but real comfort is not found in words or in circumstances. Real comfort is found in a Person…Jesus.
Hope in the Lord
Three times the psalmist asked, why are you downcast, oh my soul? (Psalm 42:5, 11, 43:5). Without expecting an answer, he quickly gave the solution to his downcast condition:
Psa 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You…
The psalmist had the right focus. It wasn’t looking deep inside himself and understanding his feelings. The solution was to look up and “see” the Lord.
The Happiness App
Happiness does not come from inside of us. Nor does it come from getting something we don’t have. The only “App” for happiness is remembering. Happiness only comes by remembering what we already have! It is the true joy that only comes when we find our rest and satisfaction in the Lord. It is the joy that Nehemiah wrote of:
Nehemiah 8:10 Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Screen or Saviour?
Do we focus our eyes on the screens of our day, or do we look to the Saviour, the only One who is capable of truly satisfying our souls? Do we remember who He is, what He has done for us and who we are in Him? Do we seek Him?
The psalmist sought the Lord before acknowledging his down cast condition, and then he closed his psalm proclaiming God’s faithfulness and provision:
Psa 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.
Psa 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Psa 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You…
Psa 42:8, 43:2-4 The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me…For You are the God of my strength…Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.
iSad…There’s No App for That
The psalmist had the answer….and so do we. No screen will deliver what we need. Jesus is the only one who will never leave or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) He is the only one who can satisfy the hunger of our souls (Matthew 5:6, Luke 1:53). And He is the only one who gives sure and steadfast hope in this world (Hebrews 6:19) and hope for the one to come (Colossians 1:27).
In the dark seasons of the soul, and even in the bright light of happy days, do not look to the world to meet expectations, desires or needs. Fix your eyes on the Author and Finisher of your faith, Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). He is ever present. Seek Him early, and then when life’s challenges, disappointments, troubles and worries open the door to iSad….there will always be a prayer for that.
Psa 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Happiness, joy, comfort, peace, hope, satisfaction and rest are not found in the things of this world. Nor are they found in the circumstances of this life or even the people we love. Our lives are to built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
Joy in Jesus
In Jesus alone is inexpressible joy–the only joy that truly satisfies.
1 Pet 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls.
Do not be anxious about anything. (Phil 4:6)
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control. Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19. As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.”
Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it: Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live: Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.
God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble. When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
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