Ep011 Hope in Uncertain Times

It seems like in life there is “Nowhere to run…nowhere to hide.”In this episode of ThyKingdomComma we’ll talk about where to find hope in uncertain times.

“Nowhere to Run to, Baby”?

You might be old enough to remember a popular song from the 1960s by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. It was called “Nowhere to Run”, and the chorus was Martha belting out how she had “nowhere to run, baby, nowhere to hide.” And she was singing about nowhere to run nowhere to hide from a man who treated her badly, but she still love them.

In another sense, that chorus seems to echo life. All of us want some sense of normalcy. All of us want to feel that we are in control. And sometimes people do some pretty irrational things to try to get the upper hand again, or at least think they’re getting the upper hand. But what can we do biblically, in times of uncertainty, is there really nowhere to run? Nowhere to hide? We’ll talk about it on today’s Thy Kingdom Comma.

Welcome to Thy Kingdom Comma is a Christian living blog and podcast dedicated to engaging conversations and Applying God’s Word to everyday life. Thanks for joining us for today’s episode. I’m your host, Anthony Russo. And it’s my hope that you will be encouraged and God will be glorified. And with that, let’s start the show.

Hello again everyone I’m Anthony, your host, it’s great to be with you again, we’re today we’re talking about where do we find hope in times of uncertainty. Now I’m going to tell you up front in this segment, we’re going to talk about a little dose of reality. Okay, we’re going to get to the ugly truth of a few things. But promise me you’ll stick around for segment two. I promise you, there is hope. But don’t jump there yet. Let’s get a few unpleasant realities out of the way first. Let’s let’s eat our vegetables so we can have dessert.

The Good Old Days Weren’t What We Remember

The first thing I want to talk about is the fact that the good old days of the past weren’t exactly like we remember them. Don’t fool yourself in thinking the “good old days” were any better. In Ecclesiastes 7:10 it says “Do not say, ‘why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you asked about this.”

Let me ask you… Exactly what days in your life were, better than these?

I had a great childhood. I rode my bicycle with my friends. I ate way too much junk food. And I got some great Star Wars toys at Christmas times and birthdays. But you know what? I grew up during the Cold War. I remember hearing about nuclear warheads, nuclear stockpiling the Soviet Union, the KGB, East Germany, families separated at the Berlin Wall and people risking their lives to cross into West Germany, and on and on.

As I grew older, there was aids, recessions, all kinds of world events, terrorism and riots in the news and genocides and wars. Yes, pretty much all of that was far away but closer to home. I grew to have bills to Pay and severed relationships in different trials and struggles.

Often we look back and gloss over the day to day or the really bad stuff. And we still we call them “the good old days”. God’s word cautions us to keep a proper perspective about the past.

The Present has Always Been Uncertain

The second thing we have to realize, besides just the fact that the good old days of the past weren’t exactly like we remember them, is that the present has always been uncertain. Humanly speaking, the only time of certainty that ever existed was eternity past and however long Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden before the fall, because after that, the world and everything in it was plunged into chaos.

None of us knows how long we will live. Even driving down the street to the store we’re not guaranteed a return trip. I remember many times over my career when my employer at the time was going through layoffs or mergers, or there were long periods of uncertainty about the future. And I’m sure you have your own stories like that you could share.

Remember when Pharaoh asked Jacob how old he was? Do you remember Jacobs reply? In Genesis 47:9, Moses records it for us. “And Jacob said under Pharaoh, ‘The days of the years of my pilgrimage are 130 years, few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.’ ” Wow! “Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been…” That was Jacob’s assessment of his life.

So those are two hard realities, we have to face: The good old days of the past weren’t exactly like we remember them, and our present has always been uncertain.

Life is Uncertain and Out of Our Control

Let’s get back to the people we talked about at the beginning in our introduction, those who try to stay in control of life and do what they can do to stay in control. Listen to this statement:

However, resolutely or defiantly, we undertake to accomplish our own objects or our own objectives, and cut our own way through to a definite self appointed future, it will never be true for one moment that we are certain of this future, and will almost always be true that we are met by changes and conditions, unexpected. This, in fact, is one of the common mitigations even of a selfish and self directed life, that its events come up out of the unknown and overtake the subject as discoveries he could not shun or anticipate.”

Horace Bushnell*

Powerful statement, isn’t that? That’s Horace Bushnell from his sermon, “Every Man’s life a Plan for God” which I can link to in the show notes. The point being of all this is: Life is uncertain and entirely out of our control.

Found: Real Hope

Now I know you’re thinking, “This guy promised me hope! This is not hope, dude!” I understand, dear friend. I do love you. And I do have hope to share. We’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we’ll talk about where true hope is in these uncertain days.

All right, so we’re back and we’re talking about where do we find hope in times of uncertainty. And we already talked about the two hard realities: That the good old days of the past weren’t exactly like we remember them, and our present has always been uncertain. In fact, all of life is really one big uncertainty, humanly speaking.

So where can we find hope? Well, we find hope, primarily in the Word of God.

Listen, for example, to Psalm 46.

God is our refuge in strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way. Though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble and it’s swelling.

There is a river whose streams make laughs The City of God, a holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved. God will help her when morning dawns, the nation’s rage that kingdoms totter. He utters his voice, the earth melts, the Lord of hosts is with us.

The God of Jacob is our fortress. Come, Behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth, He makes worse sees to the end of the earth, He breaks the bow and shatters the spear. He burns the chariots with fire. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob, is our fortress.

Psalm 46 ESV

And by the way, in verse 10, “Be still and know that I am God,” That doesn’t mean in a meditative sense like we see sometimes posted on social media. It means Be still! Stop! Be silent before me! Be in awe of the power of the Lord! is really what it’s trying to say there.

Even this morning as I was doing my own Bible reading, I got to read the end of Psalm 59. And it says in verses 16 and 17, “but I will sing of your strength, I will single out of your steadfast love in the morning, for you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. Oh my strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, oh, God are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.”

Where do we find hope? We find it in the Word of God. In fact, Psalm 46:1 is the verse that inspired Martin Luther to write A Mighty Fortress is Our God.

Hope for Christians

If you are a born again believer in Jesus Christ, the Lord is your hope. He is our shield, our rock, our refuge. We are sheltered metaphorically under his wings. He is with us. He is our Father, our God, our strength, our banner.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He is sovereign over the stars, the nations, the hearts of kings, the winds, the waves, every molecule and particle and creation. The Lord of times and seasons, the Lord of all events… Nothing, Not a single thing, happens in this universe apart from the Lord’s allowing it in his wise and careful sovereignty over it. And so we can rest in hope in those truths.

Is There Hope for Non-Christians?

Now, if you were not a Christian, and you’re listening to this, it falls to me to be the one to tell you that none of these good words of hope and comfort apply to you. In fact, the Bible says that you’re at enmity with God you’re you and God our enemies right now. So you don’t get any of these benefits. Now, yes, God, the Bible citizens reign on the just and the unjust and In one sense, he cares for the the unjust and you know gives the unjust jobs and so forth. But ultimately, these words of comfort do not apply, except to say that the Bible says that, like I said, despite your being separated from God by your sin, the Lord gives you a job, food, laughter, every good thing in this life…

God Gives Us Good Things That We Would Turn to Him

But he does it, the Bible says, that you would repent and turn to him. Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads to repentance?”

See, every good thing God gives you should make you turn to him and repent. That’s a lesson that Dr. Henry Krabbendam taught me in explaining this verse. It’s beautiful day out? Repent! You have gladness of heart? Repent! You have a job? That’s a good thing: Repent! A new job? Repent! Or a raise? Repent! A loving spouse? Children? Family? Friends? Food? Drink? Repent! Repent! Repent! Repent! Repent! These are the good things that should overwhelm us with a sense of “God, You are so good, and I am so unworthy. I am such a sinful person!”

Conclusion

So, yes, there is hope. There is hope in the Word of God. There is hope in the Word of God because it points us to our God, and we can take comfort in Him, He is our refuge.

Well, I hope that’s encouraging to you today. If you would like a copy of today’s show notes, just go to www.ThyKingdomComma.com/11.

By the way, before we go, can I ask you to do three things? One, would you pray and ask the Lord to use Thy Kingdom Comma to glorify himself. I don’t want this to be about me. I want this to be about the Lord and helping to point people to the Lord. Two, would you consider sharing this podcast with a friend? And would you go out to Apple podcasts and write the show? Whatever honest rating you want to give us, I’d appreciate it. Hey, thanks so much for listening today. I pray that you find hope and encouragement in the Word of God as it points us to the Lord.


* Note: I learned of Horace Bushnell as referenced by John Broadus in his On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, in which he speaks favorably of the above mentioned sermon. Having read the sermon in its entirety, I found nothing in it I would disagree with, so I quoted it in this episode. It was only after that I learned he is sometimes called “the Father of American Religious Liberalism.” It seems he may have started out well but then he definitely ended up in Christian mysticism and liberalism in the 1840s. So, I don’t quote him here to recommend him, but what he says is helpful to our discussion.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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