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 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.” 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 can literally give us clues, it can also be applied figuratively. In each season we enter there’s a figurative horizon. Current events, the political landscape, relationships, and past experiences give us those ‘red sky in morning’ or ‘ red sky at night’ clues.
The horizon we are staring at seems like the morning red sky that warns of bad weather. We are entering a new season in our country as we inaugurate a new president and move into a post-pandemic world. Where can we find hope in the uncertain times as we face an unknown horizon?
Change is always scary regardless of how it is perceived. Transitions can be tricky to navigate even when we are transitioning into something good. And we are sure looking at change as we move into 2021.
Many of us are sad and disappointed with how the election turned out and concerned for our freedoms. 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.
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 be. 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. It is because of this truth we can have hope in the uncertain times we are facing.
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 ones and good ones. Men and women in leadership who love God and those who don’t. I’ve been reminded of 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 He 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.
It may seem dark and dreary, that evil has the upper hand. We may feel crushing fear and anxiety. 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, to ensure 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 actually 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 throughout history Christianity grew by leaps and bounds during the greatest times of persecution. As we move into an uncharted and uncertain time in America, 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 often 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 actually provided the victory.
Think of Jericho. The people showed up and marched around the city. God made the walls fall down 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 they turned on each other then fled.
Those are just 2 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 in the exact place and time He wanted us to be alive. He also made no mistake when he placed us in the family we are a part of. This goes for anyone, 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 were created for such a time as this and we each have a God-given role to play. This goes for our kids, too. It is easy to be fearful of their future and feel bad for the world in which they will live their adult lives. But God also has them in exactly 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 6 things in the days, weeks, and months ahead:
- God is in control of all this.
- He raises up rulers and brings them down.
- It is God who will keep us afloat when things get hard
- The trials are used by God to advance the gospel.
- He fights for us and gives us hope in uncertain times.
- God created us for this exact moment in time.