As a Christian, it’s easy to fall prey to discouragement.
The world we live in is likened to a flood (1 Pet. 4:4) and a dark night (Rom. 13:12). We are navigating our way against a strong current, with a lamp in the darkness. The social outlook is pretty much pessimistic. The horizon is empty. The moral milieu is on a slippery slope. The post-millennial view of Christ’s return pretty much got dashed by the outbreak of World War II and the counterculture of the 1960s. At this point, a “Golden Age” leading up to Christ’s return seems either very unlikely or a long way off.
However, the Lord’s second coming is promised to us (Acts 1:11) and we are told to await it, expect it, and hasten it as our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). The Old and New Testaments both end with a promise of the Lord’s coming.
I am about to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me; and suddenly the Lord, whom you seek, will come… –Malachi 3:1
He who testifies these things says, Yes, I come quickly. –Revelation 22:20
Suddenly? Quickly? The Lord seems to have a different definition of these words. It was 400 years after Malachi that the Lord came the first time, and it’s been 2,000 years since John and the Lord has still delayed coming the second time.
How do we maintain hope? Watchman Nee once said, “He who sees, endures.” Seeing how God works, knowing His ways and not just His acts (Psa. 103:7), can buttress our hope.
I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.
Impossibility is never a good benchmark when you’re dealing with God. What seems impossible today, is only two steps away from being done. This should fill us with hope. Also, we should realize where our front is. Where are we placing our resources? As Christians, we are here to do the impossible. We’re not merely saving a few souls and tidying up society until we escape to heaven. We are not battling to reform society “from below”. We are here to turn the age and bring in God’s kingdom to earth. For this, the pivotal battle is the building up of the church, and the practical way to fight is to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:8).
Our prophesying, and seeing others prophesy, brings great encouragement and consolation because it builds up the church and hastens the coming of our blessed hope.