"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV)
Trouble abounds. Sin seems to run rampant. Nearly every media outlet (and there are many!) constantly reminds us of the heartache, evil, and trouble around us.
While it is good to stay informed, sometimes the intense and constant influx of messages full of fear, death, and trauma can overwhelm even the most faithful and optimistic believer.
We Christians are certainly not called to ignore the world’s troubles. We are to be actively engaged with the needs of those who are victims, who are struggling, who are imprisoned, and who are homeless (Matthew 25). Jesus Himself prayed that we would be “in the world” while not being “of the world” (John 17).
However, the constant bombardment of darkness can make us cynical and can take away the dynamic nature of our witness. Part of our dynamic witness is that we can be bearers of hope in the middle of the world’s difficulties.
We bear witness to the fact that darkness has been overcome by light. We declare with words and actions that death has been defeated by life.
Most of all, we consistently remind one another that, thanks to the resurrection of Jesus, all of these earthly troubles are temporary.
In the words of retired Methodist bishop Will Willimon, “The time is coming when God will fully get His way!” And God’s way is rooted in all-conquering love.
How can we remind others of the victory of love? How can we engage a hurting world without becoming addicted to its bad news? How can we be voices of hope, when hopelessness abounds?
The answer begins with a reminder that all troubles are temporary. This is because sin and death have already been defeated, and from here to eternity, we are instruments of God’s Spirit in spreading and living out this victory.
Prayer for the Week:
Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen. (A prayer from St. Augustine)
Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.
Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.