The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Beacons of Hope"
I recently heard a notable figure express the dark perspective that the life he presently lives is the only life he will ever live. "When we die, we are gone. There is no afterlife" said the man, who went on to add how sad it makes him to think of the coming oblivion. Such a notion leads to the futility and despair that would be our only response if no possibility of eternal life exists.
"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" (I Corinthians 15:32).
By this, the Apostle Paul meant that if no life beyond our present experience exists, we must necessarily emphasize the natural realities of our existence. We must seek and find the only pleasure we will ever know, and hope to minimize the pains of this life. We do not look to God because He is not there to see. Nor do we view the inward yearning to continue our existence as anything more than a cruel joke the universe played upon us by bringing us into a being that offers no real hope. We will have appeared for a fleeting moment, with all the wondrous human faculties and abilities that have led to incredible measures of complexity, beauty, and accomplishment. All too soon, however, we will pass away as individuals, and ultimately, as a race. "Having no hope, and without God in the world" wrote Paul of those who hold such false and despairing notions (Ephesians 2:12).
The Christian, of course, sees things quite differently. We "hope all things," that is, we view creation - and even more, its Creator - in terms of eternally abiding substance, including ourselves (I Corinthians 13:7). "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it" (Ecclesiastes 3:14). We live this life in the blessed light of anticipation that another realm approaches of infinitely greater complexity, beauty, and magnitude. Those who trust the Lord Jesus Christ will know the coming glories, signaled in this present life by countless foreshadowings that promise wonders to come forevermore. Such anticipation fills our being with the light of expectation that results in our being beacons of hope for this life and the life to come. "My expectation is from Him… Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit" (Psalm 62:5; Romans 15:13).
The gentleman referenced bears an influential voice in this generation. Millions admire him and listen to him. Many agree with him, and doubtless find his unbelief a confirming witness to "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." Another voice, however, sounds in the darkness, bearing far greater and more powerful influence. "His Word runneth very swiftly" (Psalm 147:15). Indeed, the Spirit of God races throughout the world to counter false witnesses of meaninglessness and despair. His communication far transcends devilish and worldly voices that bluster much, but which cannot and do not hinder the Spirit's far more powerful influence. Creation itself adds a confirming witness, along with the church of the Lord Jesus. "The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made… Ye shine as lights in the world" (Romans 1:20; Philippians 2:15). Thus, when we hear the bluster, and rightly grieve, we also do well to remember and rejoice in the Light that "shineth in darkness" (John 1:5). A greater and hopeful Voice ever speaks amid the gloom, offering the eternal life and reality for which our hearts were made, and for which they so yearn.
"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."(I Corinthians 15:51-54)
Weekly Memory Verse
"I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
(I Thessalonians 5:23)