Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Boost for When Times Look Bleak

Copyright: dobledphoto / 123RF Stock Photo
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
~ Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV ~ 

If the world around you isn't somewhat unsettling right now, then you're not paying attention. In fact, being oblivious to current events and escaping to some remote getaway sounds pretty attractive these days. It makes a parent concerned to think what sort of future will be left to their child.

The darkness around us seems to increase daily. Scandal abounds. Barely 24 hours pass now without hearing of some sort of loathsome sexual misdeed involving an esteemed politician or entertainer. Lying and dishonesty come as naturally as breathing to a large portion of the population. People can barely have an intelligent conversation without it ending in polarization and anger. The humble and decent suffer as their basic rights are trampled. Looking out for self over any sort of wider compassion sadly appears to be the order of the day. Biblical beliefs are scoffed at with disdain. And things like trust, integrity, and community almost seem like a thing of the past.

It can be frightening bringing up kids who are more vulnerable than their average peers in a toxic environment like this. As my children draw ever-nearer to adulthood, I get concerned that there lacks any public will to offer them a helping hand when they are down, to respect their biblical values, or to help them reach their full potential. As things like euthanasia for chronically ill or disabled children gain ground in other nations, I worry that my kids' lives will be valued and preserved. Will the Church ever stand in the gap for others just like my children? 

Still, as my fears rise, God whispers, 
"Let not your heart be troubled..." (John 14:1, NKJV)

As depraved as our culture is at present, this is nothing new to God. Believe it or not, this isn't the first time the world has seemed to be crumbling into complete hopelessness.


In fact, it was into this very type of world that Jesus, HOPE of all generations, was born. Mary and Joseph had to be every bit as beset with the constant, low-laying stress that haunts my husband and I. Corruption and societal filth also surrounded them. Leaders caused great fear in their time. Poverty seemed their lot no matter how hard they worked — a dread that never stops weighing on us too as a couple. Their safety was at constant risk. They were oppressed commoners, and even their church leaders could not be trusted to act with integrity. So much of this sounds like how we struggle today.

Even so, "LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED..." None of this catches God by surprise. He has seen it all before and made a way out of it. That tiny miracle born in the ugliest of locations, entered our earthly hell so we could enter His glorious heaven! Are you having trouble with medical care and insurance? Jesus didn't even have these blessings in His time, and He won't leave you or forsake you now. Corrupt government? The Baby of Bethlehem is the King of Kings! Every one of those leaders will ultimately answer to Him. Deception and dishonesty threatening to steal your joy? The Celebrated Savior promised, "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open." (Luke 8:17, NIV)

No matter what heaviness, darkness, injustice, or oppression weighs us down  — Regardless of every difficult circumstance — Jesus promises, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NIV) Now THAT is a reason to have hope indeed!

Pray with me...

Infant so helpless, thank You for being our help! No problem, societal rot, or misery is bigger than Your power and majesty. How blessed we are that You love us so infinitely, despite our sinful participation in some of that darkness. We don't deserve Your goodness, but You lavish it upon us anyway. Because You are our Hope beyond hope, we celebrate You now and always!

~ Barb Dittrich 

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