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Hollow but impressive
- Jacob Ninan
The world does not have any hope for the future, and the people of the world are aware of it only too well. So, many of them try to ignore the realities of life; some do it by escaping through alcohol and drugs; some keep themselves merrily occupied with entertainment, sports, hobbies, etc. But try as they might, reality hits them on their face now and then, and they find themselves helpless. It's no wonder songs like "Don't worry, be happy" become overnight hits because they give people a nice feeling, and a glimmer of hope that everything will turn out OK.
Some preachers specialise in this. Their talk is focussed on projecting hope for the future--everything will work out fine, after all God will make all things work for our good, won't He? (Rom.8:28). He is able to do things beyond our asking or even thinking, isn't He? (Ep.3:20). Your marriage will be OK. You will get a better job. Your son will come back. God will pay off your debt. He will send you the rent that is due. And such other pleasantries. If we are going through situations that are out of control, and we don't know what to do or who to turn to, isn't it great to have a preacher reassure us that we don't have to worry and God will take care? "Oh, he's so-o-o encouraging," we would think.
The first thing to notice is that these quotations have been taken out of context and are being misapplied. Many such promises held out by these preachers mean something else, and are not the panacea for our situations. The tragic result of such preaching is that this hope we receive from these preachers doesn't hold out in our practical situation, because hope that has not been given by God will not lead us to our expectation. From our side we can hope and hope, but we might as well be wishing upon a star!
Jesus said He is the Truth. In other words, He came to deal with reality. He was not playing with words or emotions, and He was not spinning soothing concepts that really don't work. He came to deal with 'sin' and He provided the only thing that works with sin, His own death in our place. Now He tells us to trust Him in our daily situations (Jn.16:33), and to follow Him in the paths He chooses for us (Jn.21:18). He gives us a lot of promises for His unfailing presence with us (Mt.28:20;He.13:5), His ability to keep us (Jude.24), to provide for all that we need (Mt.6:33), and to take us finally to a place where there will be no more pain, sorrow or evil (Re.21:4). But He not only gives us hope for our future, but He also tells us how we have to deny ourselves each day, put our sinful desires to death and go along with Him according to His ways (Lk.9:23).
When our mind is set on things above (Co.3:1,2), we can find strength from the knowledge that God is with us, even when we are walking through difficult and perplexing times in this life.