Our Living Hope
By Terry Austin
One thing life has taught me is that I can’t always have my way. But, I admit I often try. I want to plan my day and accomplish my tasks without surprises or interruptions. But surprises and interruptions always seem to arise, and I have to figure out another plan to win the day and accomplish my tasks.
On a larger scale than my day is how things affect our world. For example, September 11, 2001, changed our lives forever when the day was interrupted by an attack on the United States. Along with thousands of other things, airport security changed, financial transactions changed, and, for a while, many people walked around in fear or stopped doing things to feel safe.
During the past year, we faced another problem that created fear in our lives and caused us to start doing some things to protect ourselves. I am referring to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Across the world, many became fearful and began doing things differently. The pandemic stopped us from gathering as a society, including attending worship or going to sporting events with large crowds of people. We had to become innovative in our witnessing, discipleship, and fellowship by finding new ways to communicate. Social media played a big part in our efforts to communicate, but the healing touch of humanity, which provides hope and strength, was lacking.
Our world and our way of life have been challenged for quite some time now. We live in changing, volatile times with daily challenges to our faith and mental wellbeing. Some things we simply cannot control. But there is hope; there is reason to believe in a brighter day. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Say it however you want, but we have great hope and confidence because God is still in control. He has not been voted out of office or overthrown. He has not changed His love for us, and He still cares about every detail of our lives.
Scripture teaches us in Hebrews 13:8 that Jesus Christ never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As Christians, Jesus Christ lives in us, and we live in Him. He not only cares about us individually, He also cares for the world in which we live. He has brought generations through famine, persecution, wars, drought, storms, fire, climate change, and floods. He brought Job through the personal loss of his family, his health, and everything he cherished. Jesus has seen it all and been through it all, because He has been around forever, and He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. Not only do we have a Friend who sticks closer than a brother, we have a Guide who will lead us through whatever comes our way—day by day and over the span of a lifetime. Jesus Christ is our hope.
As a military chaplain I was privileged to carry Jesus Christ to our military members wherever they served. I offered hope to soldiers in three different wars and stressful times of training. I found ministry was greatly appreciated and much more effective when times were tough and uncertain. It was not a time to hide or be fearful; it was a time to shine and offer hope.
I know these are turbulent, frightening times, but allow me to encourage you to remain hopeful and optimistic. It is during these times the world looks to us to find their way through the surprises and interruptions in their lives. As they struggle to make sense of the events that come their way, let them see Jesus ready to take them in and provide refuge. Let them know He can be their Hope for every day.
About the Writer: Terry W. Austin is chaplain support officer for North American Ministries. Learn more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist chaplains: www.fwbnam.com/chaplaincy