Musings 117

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Job 19:25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; 27 Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!

1 Corinthians 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

It is an astonishing comment that Paul makes regarding that if we have hoped in Christ in this life only then above all men we are most to be pitied. If we think of the beatings and hardships that Paul and those who were with him went through (the “we”), that is clearly true. If we only have a time on earth and during that time on earth we are abused for our belief in another life beyond the grave, then his statement is clearly true. However, for those who do not suffer much we don’t quite get the point of his statement beyond the logic of it. We see the misery that sin brings on people and we know that we have joy in Christ and as such we don’t quite get the point of Paul.

It is also likely the case that those who have no real suffering in this present world will understand Paul when he longed and panted for the next world. It is also likely that those who suffer little or seemingly none will not long for the time when they will be with Christ and He will comfort them and wipe away their tears. It is also highly likely that those who suffer little will understand that those with Christ do not grieve as those who don’t. It is through suffering and hardships that Christ works faith in our souls and it is by faith that we see the unseen world and know it as more real than this one.

It is so clear with the television coverage of the killings that have taken place that many people grieve as those with no hope. Indeed they may have some foggy notion of a better world, but that is not the same things as living in a certain hope of being with Christ in eternity. When Christ is your life here and now (Galatians 2:20), there is the hope of having more and more of Christ in eternity. It is Christ who is our joy and it is Christ Himself who is our hope. As the Psalm says, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth” (Psa 73:25). When the true hope, love, and desire of the soul is for Christ on earth, then that soul knows that there is nothing greater in heaven but more of Christ. He is our hope both here and there, both now and then.

The focus of the news, the politicians, and seemingly the vast number of the clergy is on the here and now. Whether it is on events, life and death, or whatever goes on we are blasted with views about those things from a worldly perspective. Whether the coming election gives us one party or the other, it is the sovereign hand of God behind it. Whether the coming weeks give us more ambushes or not, it is the sovereign hand of God hardening or softening as He pleases. If the near future brings terror attacks in this country and/or others, we can know that God is either judging or protecting and that His eternal purposes will be brought forth. Our hope is not in the government and our hope is not in men or the weapons of men. Our hope is in God and in Him alone.

While the entire world, all events, and every human heart is in the hand of God to do with as He pleases, we must not forget that He does work through means or second causes (so-called as to appearance). It is not that elections are unimportant and it is not that police and military actions are inconsequential. It is simply saying that God is sovereign over all of those things and we must learn to seek the Lord to give us spiritual eyes to behold these things which is to say that He will give us eyes to see His hand in all things. While the world appears to totter and appears to be completely falling apart, it has done so many times before. God is in control despite the appearances and nothing is happening that He did not ordain to happen from all eternity. We must hope in God for eternal things in the midst of our hope in Him while we live in the here and now. We must seek Him for grace to be content with Him and what He brings to pass.

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