Death and destruction seem to be everywhere recently. Chaos, darkness, and despair have brought many to experience hopelessness and fear. For centuries, our world has been shaken by violence, wars, plagues and disasters. This has been the same in every nation past and present and to every people group. It’s nothing new; it’s just new to each generation.
The recent earthquakes in Nepal, the destruction of churches and Christian homes by IS militants, and the violent riots in the U.S. have destroyed not just buildings but lives, thousands of lives. Can things get worse? Maybe. Is there any hope? Always. In a world that seems hopeless there is an answer. There has always been an answer yet throughout history most have rejected the only true Hope that brings real peace and joy. But others continue to accept and even give up their lives for this Hope; their hope is knowing the Creator God and His eternal love.
Most recently, a group of Islamic State (IS) militants captured and beheaded 21 men in Libya who were Christians. However, one of the men, Matthew, was actually not a Christian. He was asked moments before being beheaded if he would turn to Islam. He turned down the offer. Voice of the Martyrs at persecution.com wrote about Matthew: “After reportedly witnessing the ‘immense faith’ of the Egyptian believers, he decided to become a follower of Christ. On camera, one of the terrorists asked Matthew, ‘Do you reject Christ?’ [his response] ‘Their God is my God,’ he responded, and he became one of the 21 men laying down their lives for their faith in Christ.”
Matthew’s hope, even when faced with death, was the God of the Christian believers. Their hope is eternal not earthly. King David placed his hope alone in God. He wrote:
“…for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:5
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11
“You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,” Psalm 65:5
For those who have come to know God’s love through Jesus Christ, they are the ones who hope in Him alone. No bank accounts, houses, possessions, accomplishments, social programs, or positions can bring the real hope for peace and joy in this world. Paul knew this hope and encouraged the believers in Jesus:
“Be joyful in hope…” (Romans 12:12),“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Do you know this hope? The hope of eternal life with God through His Son, Jesus Christ? If you do, then, you have the answer for the world, to those around you who are hopeless and shaken by these recent events. Peter told the Christians who were living in desperate times of persecution for their faith to be ready at any time to share this Hope with others. Like the Egyptian men in Libya, would someone see my “immense faith” in Jesus and say, “her God is my God”? I hope so. How about you?
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15