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Hope in the lack of hope


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“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

― C. S. Lewis

If you think about what it means for humans to exist from a purely realistic perspective, it’s hard to see how anyone could ever be optimistic that life on Earth can ever get significantly better no matter how hard we try.

Despite technology and nearly every sort of modern convenience, our lives on this giant rock we call home are headed toward nothing but a certain earthly death none of us can avoid. Seems like a pretty grim assessment on its own but when you consider that each of our journeys toward our inevitable ends will be impeded by unavoidable potholes of tragedy, misery, heartache, and pain, it only gets worse, think about what is going on just politically for a second.

Politics in America these days seems to consist of nothing but lying, cheating, law breaking, forced implementation of policies that are destined to fail and reduce the greatest country that has ever existed to an empty, socialistic, and non-productive shell of its former glorious self. In a way, this is a sad indictment of modern politics but it is also something that has been foretold, a fact too many of us have become too accustomed to overlooking.

The Bible acknowledges the futility and brevity of earthly life. Job 14:1: “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil.”

If you think that sounds bad, the sad excuse for an earthy existence that ends in certain death  judgment, also ends with eternal judgement.

“It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Those two verses represent a theme that is prominent throughout the Bible but also one that is diametrically opposed to the messages that dominate what our government, and even our own consciences at times tell us. Hope, hope, hope, hope and change…If the altruistic government does X, we will all reap the untold benefits of a fulfilling and prosperous life on Earth. Healthcare will be provided, food will be provided, assistance will be provided, free school, quality education for kids, protection from violence, open borders, a society free of hate, racism, bias…and every kind evil known to man is the government’s empty promise to us all. As a bonus, the government today even includes America’s very own messiah, eliminating the need for that other messiah many of us no longer speak of.

It isn’t just the government though, even individuals seem to fall into the trap that if they could only do more, the condition of everyone and everything would change for the better. I’m not saying people should stop trying to improve what they have the capacity to improve but I am saying they should temper their zeal for positive change with knowledge of the hand humans were dealt.

Unfortunately, the Bible never promises anyone any of the things I mentioned above. In fact, the only thing the word of God promises the faithful is certain earthly persecution.

Almost sounds like citizens of 2013 America are living out a biblical prophecy of foretold utter, hopeless pessimism, doesn’t it? Wow, that really sucks doesn’t it? It can but only if you look at it all in the wrong way.

Instead of bleakness, hopelessness, and a seemingly legitimate feeling that we might as well throw in the towel and stop trying, we need to collectively recognize that what the world offers, no matter how great we think we can make it, is only the necessary foundation of true peace and authentic hope.

The innate despair of present day America, instead of driving us insane (admit it, it does drive you a little insane), should instead drive us to Christ, the only One who can deliver us from the bondage of our destiny and the legacy of a fallen race. “And those who do lay hold of Christ gain (through Him) a peace that “surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7). For it is only Christ who can grant us freedom from the worries, cares, and despair of modern life. There is no peace in the hope that the American political landscape will change for the better, no reason to hope that if we each only do more, speak louder, blog more, tweet more, talk more, and make our case for change stronger, we will be truly be happy.

Not that what we are doing as conservatives in the form of speaking out, activism, countering the left, and striving to be as informed as possible are inherently bad things, within reason, quite the opposite is true. The problem with these things is that possible results are only temporary and the effort can consume us to the point where there is very little left over for us to give to anything else.

Concerning ourselves with what, in many cases, seems to amount to trivialities is not, and never was part of God’s plan for us. Instead of peace of mind, hope, and prosperity that may come through political and social change by re-invigorating conservative politics in America, what we all need is more hope for a real and palpable peace that is both incomprehensible and unattainable for those who are seeking fulfillment in earthly things and sanctity in earthy governments.

It’s a simple principle, really. If we set our hearts solely on material goods, earthly pleasures, earthly distractions like blogs, television, social media, talk radio, earthly governments, and politics, what we end up doing is coveting things that have been set aside for destruction since before God spoke the universe into existence.

Even if our efforts end up bearing fruit and conservatism seemingly reverses America’s decline into oblivion, in the end we will still have nothing but disappointment and everlasting misery, a misery that can be, as mine has, easily made worse.

Anger, hostility, confusion, and endless political distractions have left me focusing nearly all of my attention and effort working for and worrying about earthly change while I have completely lost sight of my real purpose, and that is “setting my mind on the things above” (Colossians 3:2)

Hard to admit that, in a world I know to be biblically doomed to be without earthly hope, I have replaced fixing my heart on Christ and embracing the spiritual and eternal values of heaven with fixing everything I have on the futility of changing government and, in the process, sacrificed all possible peace in this life.

Also hard to admit that I have recently come to the conclusion that, no matter what I or any other conservative says or does, America will hand herself over to another Marxist leader who will serve as the final nail in the coffin of what future generations will only remember as America’s former greatness. America is probably doomed but now isn’t the time to quit. It is however, the time to step back, rethink, refocus, and readjust what we have been doing and why.

Even though the country I love is screwed, fortunately all hope for individuals is not lost. The good news is that, alongside the Bible’s dismal assessment of the sheer hopelessness of this earthly life, we can find Christ’s simple command to His faithful followers: “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on” (Matthew 6:25). After all, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (v. 27).

What Jesus is doing in these verses is attacking the sins of greed and worry, neither of which are small offenses in His eyes. As he says, these are serious, soul-destroying sins that annihilate our peace and undermine righteousness at the most basic level. They are hostile to hope, antithetical to genuine faith, and they breed every imaginable kind of wickedness.

Wickedness in turning our eyes away from God far too much of the time to concern ourselves with the trivialities of Twitter, the nonsensical babbling of liberal television analysts, the rank foolishness of much of the internet, and what every politician and pundit in the country says and does every minute of every day.

Wickedness in putting too much stock and faith in politicians and political candidates who rarely do anything but lie, disappoint, and fail at their basic duty to put a the interests of a country they were put into office to serve first..

Wickedness in dutifully tuning in to watch or listen to talking heads while simultaneously heaping what almost amounts to idol status on fellow human beings we believe speak an almost holy truth.

And, wickedness in consistently subjecting ourselves to the distracting, mind-numbing, and spirit crushing buffoonery that seems to monopolize what passes for news today.

Just the other day someone told me the rodeo clown at the center of the Missouri State Fair Rodeo “scandal” had been arrested by federal authorities for a hate crime because he wore a President Obama mask during a performance a few weeks ago.

Turns out the rumor of the arrest wasn’t even true but, just the same, the damage to me had been done. Done in the sense that my blood pressure immediately went through the roof.

Done in the sense that I immediately got on line feverishly searching for the story so I could waste way too much time blogging about something that is patently absurd and of little consequence in the overall scheme of things.

And, done in the sense that it was one more wound in my inevitable, slow, and painful death by a thousand cuts by the razor of stupidity.

Every second wasted on the inane ramblings of the mentally challenged cast of MSNBC, every click of a link that leads me to TPM, Huffington Post, Salon, or any of the other moronic lefty webzines. Silly distractors, mindless time wasters, clever diversions, or was it all much more?

In fact it was much, much more. I was, as Neil Postman said in his book by the same name, amusing myself to death with cleverly contrived, one could say devilish, minutia while God was yelling at me to get my priorities straight and focus. This is precisely the kind of focus I think we all need in order to have eventual peace.

Too many of us are wasting too much of our time, energy, and talent on things we may or may not be able to change and/or aren’t worth changing in the first place and it is causing too many of us to take our eyes off the prize.

Heaven, not the next election or next scandal or the next dopey thing some lefty says or writes, is the storehouse where our best resources should be invested and we can only really have true peace if that is where we are keeping our treasure, investing our time, and focusing most of our effort.

*On a side note, I just heard that Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for selling secrets. Now, I could open my browser and dive headfirst into the cesspool of idiocy swirling around the sentencing but, to what end? What purpose, other than inching me a little closer to the edge, would engage with idiots over something I had nothing to do with and can’t change would there be? Would it make me a better, more informed, and/or more useful person or, would it make me a bitter and distracted person who just wasted time and effort that could have been better used doing 1,000 other things? Wouldn’t even a workout, a nap, time with a book, or time with God make me a better person?

And if it is not, if we are more concerned about preparing our next blog posts, refuting stupid Twitter trolls, reading endless websites that only anger and confuse us than we are with preparing for heaven and what awaits the faithful when we leave this wretched planet then all of our hearts are in the wrong place.

If our hearts are in the right place however, we will most certainly have eventual peace and, along with that, short term comfort in looking forward to this peace.

While America and the rest of humanity are destined to fail regardless of any earthly human effort, the kingdom of God and the promise of eternal hope is certain.

Read more from the author here.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Hope in the lack of hope

  1. Extremely well put, James! As we drown in the sea of earthly hopelessness, we always have the option of looking to the true source of hope…

    Posted by Red Pill Report | August 22, 2013, 7:38 am
  2. Right on! I must confess that I have allowed myself to be distracted by the mindless talking heads that surround us. I have spent time trying to correct them, or answer them, or alter their perspective . . . all for nothing. I will use my time and my witness for Christ more wisely . . . and stop casting my pearls before swine.

    Posted by Linus | August 22, 2013, 12:42 pm

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