There are experiences we go through that make us feel on top of the world. Circumstances turn in our favour. Relationships are good. We have a positive spiritual experience. How do we get more of those kind of moments?
Life In The Hard Times
But of course life is not just made up of the good times, there are also the hard times. In those times, we can get to yearning for something better. In itself yearning is a good thing, it creates within us a clarity about the gap between where we are and where we want to be. The crucial question is, ‘will we get there?’.
When it comes to thinking about spirituality, different people have different answers to this question. I’ve heard a number of friends over the years, (mostly who weren’t yet followers of Jesus), express the sentiment that they wish they had the faith I had. Behind that statement, they maybe hoped that God would make himself clearer to them, but they were not very hopeful that it would happen. Can we hope for brighter days in a walk with God?
The Temptation In The Hard Times
In the hard times, as we yearn for something better, there is a subtle temptation to give up hoping. Instead of continuing to hope for brighter times, we settle for less, we make a decision to not expect as much out of life. Maybe we give up on our spiritual quest altogether.
For the person who is a follower of Jesus, this giving up might not mean that they stop going to church or doing religious things. They still attend and go through the motions, but their hope is gone. They’re not expecting anything of Jesus anymore.
What do we do if we find ourselves having lost hope for brighter days?
The Thing To Remember In The Hard Times
As the writer to the Hebrews is confronted with a group of people who are struggling in their faith and about to give up hope, he takes them back to remind them of the story they have been caught up in.
‘In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.’ (Hebrews 1:1-2)
We have been caught up in a story that goes way back in the history of the world. There is a God who has been patiently and persistently been revealing himself to people throughout history.
God spoke to Abraham and gave him directions on where to live, promising blessing. Then Moses had various appearances from the Lord, mediated by powerful ministering angelic beings. Then at the ‘end of the age’, the period of human history we find ourselves in, God appeared in the flesh as a man - Jesus Christ. He has spoken. He has revealed himself. The God who made all things and has the power to save all things back to himself.
As the writer of Hebrews takes his readers on this journey back in history, it is so that he can stress - what we have now, it is even greater than what they had back then.
Jesus is Even Better
In this first chapter of his address, which seems almost more like a sermon than a letter, the writer uses a contrast between Jesus and angels to show how marvellous the revelation we have received in these last days truely is.
Angels on the one hand are quite amazing. We see through the Scriptures that whenever someone is confronted with an angel, they fall down before them with reverent fear. Yet, they are but ‘ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation’ (Hebrew 1:14). Pretty cool that God would send his angels to help us. In fact the writer to the Hebrews let’s us know that even as we show hospitality to people, we may inadvertently host an angel (Heb 13:2).
In contrast though, Jesus is the very Son of God the Father, himself worshipped by the angels (1:6). He is the Lord God (1:8-9). In the end, all heaven and earth will bow to the Son (1:13). And He is the one, who has stepped foot in our world, to make himself known. Wow!
Don’t Grow Dull In The Hard Times
The thing we need to take away from all of this is outlined at the beginning of Hebrews 2.
‘We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.’ (Hebrews 2:1)
Either we are being strengthened in faith and growing more and more amazed at what God has done for us in Jesus. Or, we will be slowly drifting away, as we take our eyes off what God has done.
As the hard times come, like the Psalmists, we need to be realistic about our difficulties, but also call to mind all that God has done for us, and so continue forward with hope for a better future. As we do that, it sets the conditions for God to keep showing that he is able to meet our needs - no matter how great they are. So let us not forget what God has done for us in Jesus. That will be the thing that builds our hope for a better future.
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
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