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When All Hope Seems Lost
God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ — everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
Ephesians 1:9-14 NLT
A few years back my family and I went white water rafting together as part of our family vacation. We figured it would be a great opportunity for team building and family bonding – and it certainly was! Thankfully we had a guide to navigate and direct us on the boat. When the waters seemed calm, some of us took turns sitting at the front tip of the boat at the guide’s instruction. To be honest, I didn’t want to go, but after much encouragement, I decided to go for it. As I sat and held onto a rope between my legs, I thought to myself, I’m definitely secure for whatever happens next.
Before I knew it, we were heading straight for a wave coming toward us. The boat went up along the wave, and as sure as it went up, it was coming down. I could feel my weight shifting forward and I thought to myself, why did I choose to hold onto the rope between my legs and not on the outside of my legs? As you might imagine, I couldn’t hold onto the rope and still hope to be unharmed by the sheer position that my body was in, as gravity was pulling me forward into the water. So … I had no choice but to let go and fall into the water, while trusting that everything was going to be okay. After all, this was not the guide’s first time asking someone to sit at the tip of the boat. I also knew someone from my family or the guide would pull me out somehow. All I could do was what the guide told us to if we fell in the water, just keep swimming against the current. I swam as hard as I could and within seconds, my brother pulled me out of the water. Strangely, the water felt cold but refreshing!
I think of that story and how life can be a little like water rafting. There are times we have to paddle hard, waves come and go, the people in our boat matters a lot, and we must have faith in our guide. When I came to the realization that I had to let go of the rope and fall into the water, all hope seemed lost for a moment, but then I remembered who was with me and how I could trust in them, especially the guide. When we go through challenging times, whether it be family issues, this pandemic we’re all in, mental health problems, sickness, relationship strain etc., as children of God who have put our trust in Jesus Christ, we can find hope by looking up and looking forward. This was a key point in Pastor Dave’s sermon this past weekend titled, “Famous Chapters | Freedom From Discouragement”.
In challenging times, we can find hope by looking to our Father God, trusting that He is greater than what’s going on temporally and that He is able to make “everything work out according to his plan” (Ephesians 1:11) – and His plans are always good for us (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28). We also find hope by looking forward to the promise of God that the Apostle Paul refers to in Ephesians 1, the promise that “at the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ – everything in heaven and on earth” (v.10), but also the promise of our inheritance (v.14), that is, the complete renewal of God and the Kingdom of God in its fullness, of which we only experience in part today. We know this inheritance is ours because we have the Holy Spirit inside us! When we receive Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Saviour, we also receive the Spirit of God, who is “God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people” (v.14), that we may praise and glorify Him!
P.S. I mentioned earlier, those in your boat matter a lot. If you aren’t a part of a church community small group, prayerfully consider joining a Life Group at Coastal Church! Click here to find out more.