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.
Thanks for sharing this, Kyle! I have been in a little discouragement-slump lately, just feeling my lack of burning in spirit and fervency toward the Lord. The past two weeks here in Oklahoma have been devastating for our state. And Friday night, in particular, was nothing short of frightening. There were four storm systems going at one time and not knowing when or where a tornado would fall out of the sky really makes one ponder on the future, the Lord’s return and one’s relationship with Him. I feel like His return has not been a “blessed hope” to me, but perhaps just an end to all of the tragedy I’ve been observing, and between now and His return, I can only look forward to more of the same. However, like you mentioned about prophesying, it gives consolation and encouragement. We need one another to “prophesy” as you have done/do in this blog because it helps us turn our eyes away from the earthly things to the heavenly things. Right now, I feel like the psalmist in Psam 73:17 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood…” We may not understand why these things are happening, or how things will go, but when we speak to one another the things of God, our inner being is turned and our inner eyes are refocused on what matters. We enter into the “sanctuary” of our spirit, where God is. We can count on our Lord’s return. What may look bleak now is only two steps away from DONE. Praise Him! And Praise Him for His Body!
Well this ended up being an encouraging comment to me. 🙂 Psalm 8 has always been encouraging to me. “What is man that you remember him or the son of man that you visit him?” We are not insignificant play things or wound-up robots or pond scum (some theologies lean this way). God is very interested in visiting us and activating our loving response for the fulfillment of His purpose. I like the footnote in the Recovery Version on verse 3: “The Lord’s aim in His redemption is to turn our view from the dark and troubled earth to the bright and ordered heavens.” You are absolutely right- we need to look away.
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