December 2, 2020
Thanks for continuing with us in prayer. Thanks for praying for our prodigals and for revival. Paul said, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” (Rom. 12:12). Three separate commands, yet all tied together with one common thread. The thread is a person and His name is Jesus!
Last Sunday was C.S. Lewis’ birthday. He was born on November 29, 1898 - one hundred and twenty-two years ago. He died on November 22, 1963, at the young age of sixty-five. God blessed him with a magnificent mind, and his writing tells the story: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, and many more. His quotes are deep, meaningful, and searching. The one which was posted on Monday’s @cslewis_quote Instagram was really good. He said, “If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
We were made for another world. This was always God’s intention. He sought us. He saved us. He brought us into His eternal plans (Eph. 1:7-10). The joys, the sorrows, the heartaches, the triumphs, and every other experience of ours point us to a future, to something more real, to something far greater, to life with Himself.
Paul says, “Rejoice in our confident hope.” This may be a difficult day for you. Today may be filled with sadness, loneliness, or despair. The journey of life has many deep valleys but our confidence is that our hope is in Jesus. Mark quotes the Old Testament prophet Isaiah and says, “His name will be the hope of all the world” (Mat. 12:21).
Our hope is founded on the reality of a risen Christ. His darkest hour brought Him into the shadows of death, but he did not stay in that horrible place. He arose in victory over those heavy chains and He lives in the power of an endless life (Heb. 2:14-18).
A few days ago, my son Benjamin and I went for a three-day hike in Killarney Provincial Park. On the second day, we made it to the summit of Silver Peak, at 1,781 feet. It was a long day. We were ten hours hiking, and there were places that it was a huge effort just to put one foot in front of the other, times when things seemed rather desperate. That day we had two hopes: the hope of making it to the top and then the hope of getting back to camp. Thankfully both were realized.
Paul reminds the Roman believers and us that we can rejoice when things are difficult. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:3-5). Whatever your circumstance today, may your hope in Him be strengthened because you were made for another world!
“Be patient in trouble.” This is not easy. Ever! This word trouble or tribulation comes from the idea of pressure. When the pressure, the anguish, the oppression, the affliction, the straits, the burdens of life become overwhelming, again, we turn to Him. These experiences drive us to our God.
Life has a way of pressing us down — until we feel flattened and helpless. It may be family problems. It may be financial problems. It may be church-related problems. It may be very personal, inward problems. God wants us to be patient.
In this verse, patience means endurance, which means to stay under. It doesn’t mean to deny the problem, or avoid the problem, or even hate the problem. It means to allow God to do His work in you, in the middle of the problem. That’s endurance. Jesus did this at the cross. “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
The trials of this life are temporary and the patience required is a good reminder that we were made for another world. As we look to Jesus and follow His example, our patience will be strengthened.
“And keep on praying.” Don’t give up! Don’t cave. Don’t resort to worldly strategies. Just keep on praying. All the time. Every day. Every moment of every day.
God hears the whispers of your heart. He sees the tears that fall. He knows your failures. He understands your weakness. And He is able to get you through. Just keep on praying! And as you pray, the reality will be ever-present — you were made for another world.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel