This week we look towards a new horizon in our world—an unknown horizon. Like so many people who have gone on before us, we scan the horizon with hope for the new day it brings. We bring our past experiences as we look forward.
For centuries, people have looked to the sky for direction. God has created it to give us markers for time, marking years, seasons, months, and days. It not only helps us mark time, but it gives us clues to the upcoming weather. We are all familiar with the saying, “red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning.” A bright red sky in the morning usually indicates a storm is on the way. Science tells us that when we see a ring around the moon, it means there’s moisture in the air and likely to rain.
While the horizon gives us clues literally, the concept of a horizon is also applied figuratively. In each season we enter, there’s a figurative horizon. Current events, the political landscape, relationships, and past experiences provide us with those ‘red sky in morning’ or ‘red sky at night’ clues.
An unknown horizon usually means change. Change can be scary because change means transitions. Transitions can be tricky to navigate even when we are transitioning into something good. And we are sure looking at change. Our world will never be the same as it was pre-pandemic, especially now as we face global unrest.
The horizon we find ourselves staring at seems like the red morning sky that warns of bad weather. We are entering a new season in our country and our world, and we are wise to consider those ‘red sky’ clues. They are a gift from God, reminding us where to seek hope and find our security.
Where can we find hope in the uncertain times as we face an unknown horizon? As I have strived to comprehend what is going on around me, God has encouraged me with some perspectives that have made the horizon a little less scary. The ‘red sky’ clues direct us to 6 truths in which we can find hope and courage in our faith.
First, God is sovereign.
I know this sounds cliche, but honestly, it is the one truth that has gotten me through so many trials. We can’t see what the future holds or what the repercussions of what has happened to us will mean. But regardless, God is not up there wringing His hands and shaking His head. He already knows the outcome. And He knows how it plays out and impacts all of history. We can have hope in the uncertain times before us because of this truth.
It says in Daniel 2 that it is God who removes and sets up kings:
“He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;”
Second, kings and rulers come and go.
There are bad rulers and good rulers. Some men and women in leadership love God, and some don’t. A great example of this is the kings who ruled Israel. They were a mix of good and bad- some were downright evil. But God was over it all. They all had a purpose in His plan. Some of them God used to bring on judgment, and others He used to usher in times of peace.
The part that comforts me the most is God always saved a remnant of people for himself and protected them. God protects His people, the people who truly love him with their whole hearts. Ezra 9 offers a beautiful verse to encourage us:
“But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery.”
Third, we will be ok even when things get hard.
Our world may seem dark and dreary. It may seem that evil has the upper hand. Crushing fear and anxiety may be a constant companion. But there’s a beautiful promise in 2 Corinthians 4:
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
When we stay close to the Lord, he enables us to keep going, endure the trial, and even thrive in the midst of trouble. We will be ok even when the world around us is falling apart. If we are walking with the Lord, all will be well in our souls because our eyes will be on Jesus.
Fourth, everything, especially the bad, advances the gospel.
We all know it’s easy to forget God when times are good. We are more likely to run to him when we need His help. But it’s the trials that grow and mature us, often giving us our greatest testimony. God also uses trials to draw people to Him.
Paul was able to flip his perspective to view his trials as being a part of the advancement of the gospel. That’s why he could be content in every circumstance and maintain his joy. In Philippians 1, he tells us that:
“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
We also know that Christianity grew by leaps and bounds throughout history during the most severe times of persecution. As we move into uncharted and uncertain times, we need to be seeking God for our part in advancing the gospel.
Fifth, it is God who fights for us and gives us hope in uncertain times.
It often feels like it’s us against the power of darkness. I don’t know about you, but I often feel like problems are my battle to fight. But God frequently reminds me of the Israelite people as they conquered the promised land. The Israelite army didn’t often actually fight. There are tons of examples where they were obedient to show up and be present, but God was the one who provided the victory.
Think of Jericho. The people showed up and marched around the city. God made the walls collapse, and that’s what won the battle.
Remember Gideon? He and 300 men showed up with lanterns and pots. God made the enemy think they were surrounded and outnumbered, so they turned on each other then fled.
Those are just two examples of many where God provided victory in battle. Instead of giving into fear, seek God what he’s asking you to do in this time, how you can be a part of the victory. In Exodus 14, the Lord spoke these words directly:
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Sixth, like Esther, we were made for such a time as this.
Each of us has a purpose. God knew us before we were born and placed us precisely in the exact place, time, and family in which we are living. This fact is true for every person, born or unborn, child or adult. God doesn’t make mistakes. Jeremiah 29:11 gives us a promise we can hold on to:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
We, like Esther, were created for such a time as this. We each have a God-given role to play, and this goes for our kids, too. It is easy to be fearful of their future and feel bad for the world where they will live their adult lives. But God also has them in precisely the place he needs them.
Our hope in uncertain times.
Our hope lies in Jesus, the author of our faith. We can trust Him and rest in His sovereignty. As we move into uncertain and uncharted times, we can confidently reject fear. Remember these six things in the days, weeks, and months ahead:
1. God is in control of all this.
2. He raises rulers and brings them down.
3. It is God who will keep us afloat when things get hard
4. God uses trials to advance the gospel.
5. He fights for us and gives us hope in uncertain times.
6. God created us for this exact moment in time.
The next time you see a red sky in the morning, let it remind you to seek the Lord for hope and courage in your life.