December 24, 2017

Established Hearts

You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand

(James 5:8).

 

On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus said to His disciples, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me" (John 14:1). No doubt He would say the same thing to us. If His followers needed to hold on and keep hope alive back then, it's no less important for us to keep a steady head during the difficulties of the present day. Whatever comes to pass in this frustrating world, we must not let it throw us into doubt or despair. The King is coming back to set things straight, and it may be sooner rather than later. "Be patient," James wrote. "Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."

We are taught in the gospel to be a people of hope, and the hope we can have is much more than wishful thinking or blind optimism. It's an optimism based on solid, historical evidence that God can be counted on to keep God's word. After Jesus was buried, His tomb was found empty, just as He had promised it would be. That empty tomb has never had any adequate explanation except that Jesus was actually raised from the dead. And if the Resurrection is true, then He's everything He claimed to be: our God, our Savior, and our Lord. If the Resurrection is true, there is hope! "In the world you will have tribulation," He once said, "but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Wisdom, then, is a bittersweet thing. Solomon said, "In much wisdom is much grief" (Ecclesiastes 1:18). The more we know of the world, the sadder it is to contemplate the tragedy of our sin and its consequences. But the brokenness of the world, as sad as it is, is not the whole story. Jesus has defeated our enemy and taken the sting out of his worst weapon. If we've obeyed the gospel faithfully, then "our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).

God hasn't finished redeeming us yet, but there's no doubt that God will. Our responsibility is to wait and to do so with delight rather than dreariness. However many things there are to endure, there are even more to enjoy. Among these, there is the strong love of a Savior who said, "Let not your heart be troubled."

 

"All human wisdom is summed up in two words wait and hope."

...Alexander Dumas