When Darkness Seems to Hide His Face…I Remain Hopeful
We have much in the news today to discourage us. Darkness seems all around. One can easily give in to despair. This is et another reason to know history, to see how God has worked in the past, and to be centered on the hope in Christ rather than the circumstances of this world. We do rest on His unchanging grace.
The past two weeks I have been encouraged more than discouraged, news events notwithstanding. Last week I taught a PhD seminar with J.D. Greear, an early student of mine and now pastor of the great Summit church. We looked at the gospel, the mission of God, and how we understand the gospel and ministry to those in need. The students were more than impressive. Meeting with them reminds me God continues to raise up a generation of leaders who have not bowed the knee to Baal.
This week I have a group of pastors in a DMin cohort studying movements of God both in history and today, marks of such movements, and how to lead them. How can you read about the work of God in the face of evil, like in early 18th century England, and not have hope for our time? God reigns on His throne, and history resounds with His praises.
In between these seminars, two events gave further reminders. I spoke to the North Carolina evangelists last Thursday, which was a different group altogether than the PhD students earlier that day. These were seasoned veterans who love the gospel and have sacrificed much for the Name. I talked to them about revival. We were all encouraged. Then my wife and I moved our son and his new bride to the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, where he will be serving with the student ministry in that great church. Matt Lawson, high school pastor there, is one of my sons in the ministry. God is moving. He is saving. He has growing disciples.
Yes, the culture around us seems to be growing darker. And, the religious activity and sometimes idolatry in the churches can be discouraging. But God sits on the throne. He is not done with us. I reminded the evangelists and those in my seminars of some of the marks of a movement of revival, including these:
the role of youth
the role of small groups of hungry believers
the recovery of the gospel
the birth of social ministries (orphanages, etc) our of such movements
expansive missionary work
I see all of these today. I confess to being an optimist; I believe in the power of the gospel. Being a naysayer can sell books, but spiritual movements are led by people of faith. Let us demonstrate our faith in how we live.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand.