I’ve never been more hopeless for our country.
Our major cities are overrun with crime. A single murder in a city like Chicago doesn’t even make the local news. But the crime has not been confined to urban areas. In recent days there have been two stories of mass murders in small, relatively rural American towns.
People are angry. They fight for no good reason. We are fractured from one another. We’ve forgotten how to get along. Rather than looking at others simply as human beings, we have grouped everyone into their own community. And all of those communities just can’t figure out how to get along.
Even churches aren’t immune from the bad news. People who have shared the same general worship space for years and who claim to worship the same God act as if they hate each other. Prayer has been replaced with gossip. Worship has been replaced by entertainment. Defensiveness and skepticism have taken the place of repentance.
I’ll spare you the details on the family. Just know that things are bad there too.
It’s times like these when Christians need to evaluate where they are finding their hope. If it’s in safety, getting along with everyone, the church or the family, we’re all in trouble. The one good thing about dark times is that they serve as a painful reminder of the Church’s real hope.
It’s a hope that cannot be voted on, hired, drafted or built. Rather, it is a hope without beginning or end. It is a hope that is faithful to the end.
Our hope is Jesus Christ.
In the first chapter of Colossians, Paul reminded his readers of that. But he didn’t do so by explaining how hard they had to work to pull themselves up out of trouble. He did it by describing how big Jesus Christ is.
More than just a simple carpenter or teacher, Jesus is God.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Colossians 1:15 (ESV)
But he isn’t just God in the sense that many people think of. He isn’t just God over heaven or spiritual things. He is God over all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16 (ESV)
Not one thing has ever happened or ever will happen in spiritual warfare, politics, family life, international trade meetings or family meals that is beyond Jesus Christ. Even the most minute details of life are governed by him. He is God of the small things too. No matter how chaotic or insignificant the details and worries of your life may seem, they are held together by Jesus Christ.
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17 (ESV)
Finally, Jesus is God of the Church.
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. Colossians 1:18 (ESV)
He is the head of the Church. To be clear, he may not be the head of your church. If that’s the case, find a new one. Quick.
I have never felt more hopeless for our country. But I have never been more assured of the Church’s future. That’s because Jesus didn’t die for America or Germany or Uganda. He died for his Church. And he is the head of his Church. If you are a Christian, you belong to that body we call the Church whose head is Christ. And here’s the good news. If a body has Christ as its head, that body will never die.
Christian, when anxiety, fear and doubt try to take up residence in your life, do not turn to a presidential candidate for your hope. They will let you down. Do not look back to the good old days to bring you joy. They weren’t as heavenly as you like to think.
Instead, look to Christ.
He is God.
He is good.
He rules over all things, even the little things.
And he loves you.
You have no reason to lose hope.