But these things I have spoken to you, that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them…
It’s hard not to lose hope when surrounded by such a discouraging world. Turn on the news and it is difficult to find anything worthy of praise. Occasionally reports of selflessness or goodwill break through, but more often than not, the media reports the obvious… a decaying and hopeless world. How is a follower of Christ expected to “press on towards the goal” (Philippians 3:14) in the midst of such chaos?
The words of Christ in John 16:2 may ring true now more than ever. “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.” Are we not in such a situation now? Ambassadors of false gods kill with the illusion that they do a service to that god. Parents introduce their children to death before allowing them the opportunity to breathe their first breath; even the church has taken godly men from the pulpit only to replace them with the ungodly. It is in the midst of this that we strive to be ambassadors to the true God, holy and pure in a harsh environment. No wonder we often find our surroundings to be such a hopeless situation.
The hour has come that Christ referred to in John 16:4; we must do as He commanded and “remember”. We must remember that He has warned us about the world we now live in. We must remember that God is never taken by surprise. He has been fully aware of the ungodliness and the hatred long before it came to exist. If we long to experience any type of hope, if we long to “press on towards that goal,” we must remember that our God is still in control. It is in this same chapter of John that Christ also promised us the gift of His Holy Spirit. Described as our “Helper,” the Spirit of God has been made available to us for guidance, strength, and encouragement. Verse 13 promises us that the Spirit will guide us in truth. As a natural outcome of this decaying world, the truth has now become a distant ideal replaced by the allure of relativism. If we are to continue in hope we must daily approach the Spirit of God in search of wisdom. He will faithfully guide us through the Scriptures and reveal to us truths that have previously remained unseen. Motivated, enlightened, and empowered by the Spirit, God will then be glorified through His work in us (verse 14).
Whether you are currently discouraged over world events, family life, or personal struggles, I encourage you to take hope in the promise of God. Remember that He continues to have total control over the world that we live in. We do not travel through life alone, but are accompanied by a divine Helper. It is with this hope and empowerment that we will be able to “press on towards that goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”!