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Forward Focus

We rest in this hope we’ve been given—the hope that we will live forever with our God—
the hope that He proclaimed ages and ages ago (even before time began).
Titus 1:2 (VOICE)

Series: Anchored in Hope

“Mom’s coming!” The resounding reply rang out, “Nuh-uh.” My brothers and sisters and I used to play this game as we waited in the van during our Mom’s quick solo trips into the grocery store to grab a few items. One of us was assigned to be on the lookout while the rest of us kneeled on the floorboard, covered our eyes, and put our heads down on the seat.

The lookout person’s eyes were focused intently on the store’s exit, watching for Mom to emerge with bags in hand. Periodically, the watcher would chime, “Mom’s coming,” whether true or not. Those who had their eyes covered had to guess if the claim was true or not.

This game kept us entertained while we waited for the return of our Mom. None of us ever questioned or doubted her reappearance. Mom was always faithful to come back to the van. The waiting, as a child, however, sometimes seemed endless.

The same can be true as we anticipate the return of Jesus. He told His followers He would come back on the clouds with power and glory. Here we are, thousands of years later, still watching and waiting. Some try to guess when Jesus’ appearance will be and have wrongly pinned that day through the years. Jesus said no one knows the day and hour of His coming again.

As time moves on, we can lose hope of this glorious promise. We may become tired, distracted, and discouraged. The pain and suffering we see and experience in this world may cause us to question the words of Jesus. Thankfully, Jesus did not leave His followers alone and without hope.

When Jesus resurrected, ascended, and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, the Holy Spirit was sent to comfort, strengthen, and lead us in all Truth. As new creations in and through Christ, we are witnesses to the miraculous work He has already accomplished in our own hearts and in the lives of others. Peter, in his first letter, encourages us with this sustaining hope:

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5 HCSB)

Paul, in many of his letters, shared this same assurance. In Titus 2:11-13 (NLT), he wrote:

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 

And in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (HCSB), Paul wrote:

Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

The work of Christ in us helps keep us from growing weary while we wait. We will experience trials—or as Paul said, “light affliction”—in our days on this earth. We are not to focus on the seen, but the unseen. Like Jesus, let’s set our eyes on the eternal joy before us and encourage one another in active hope: Jesus is coming!

We may need to put on side blinders to help us keep our focus facing forward, looking only to Jesus. We may need earplugs to block out the nay-sayers and false reports. We need God’s resolute strength mixed with compassion as we see and endure the sufferings on this side of eternity. And until the hour comes when we are called to meet Jesus in the air, may this be our prayer for all:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 HCSB)

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture References: Titus 1:2, 2:11-13; Mark 13; John 16; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:17; Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Psalm 119:114


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