By Rev. John B. Sorensen
Let’s face it. This past year has been a difficult one. While some of us may be doing okay, others are struggling – financially, physically, and perhaps, even spiritually. As believers, we know that our hope is in Jesus. But how do we keep that hope in the midst of troubled times? when we are tired and ready to give up?
First of all, God has given us hope through the gift of salvation. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to secure a place in Heaven for us. We can know that whatever happens here on earth, we can spend eternity with our Creator. Paul writes in Philippians 1:21, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (NIV). That is our eternal hope.
The Bible also assures us that our trials are for a purpose. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he writes that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (4:17, NIV). This changes our perspective. Whatever we are going through today is temporary. Our troubles will last only for a moment. They will pass. And as we endure them, those troubles grow perseverance, character, and hope in us (see Romans 5:3-4). They can make us stronger in the end.
But what about the here and now? How do we endure when we are in the midst of the trial? When life gets hard and overwhelming, it’s natural for us to withdraw and want to hide. But although this feels right, it’s exactly the opposite of what we need to do. Not only do our trials have a purpose (in growing us), but we have a purpose in the midst of those trials. We have hope because we have a job to do.
Every person who has the hope of salvation through Jesus has also been called to a ministry – specifically the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:1) – reconciling the world to God. We are His ambassadors. Our job is plead to the lost on Christ’s behalf…to share the Good News to a world who needs to hear that there’s hope, to people who need that hope in their personal crisis.
We cannot have hope today without God’s mercy and salvation, and we can’t have God’s mercy without His ministry. He has given us a task to do because He’s merciful. As we minister hope to others, we are strengthened. We are made whole. We find our meaning and purpose. That keeps us going because it gives us hope.
You see, our hope has nothing to do with our present circumstances – a virus, our finances, or how we feel. Our hope doesn’t change when we’re in a storm. Our hope is in God and God alone. That hope is so critical. With it, we can endure against all odds. It makes us brave to share that hope with others. Time is short, so let’s make today the day of reconciliation.
Rev. John B. Sorensen, D.D. is the President/CEO of Evangelism Explosion International, headquartered in Arden, N.C. EE has been a leader in equipping Christians to share their faith for more than 55 years. For more free tips and resources, visit evangelismexplosion.org or follow John on Twitter @JBSorensen. If you need to experience hope during this crisis, we invite you to visit www.hopeinacrisis.com.