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  • Writer's picturePastor Gary Lewis

Though Despair Tempts Us, God Holds Us

Though Despair Tempts Us, God Holds Us

By Rev. Gary Lewis

I do not have to tell you this, but the news is not good: There is war in Europe. Old demons like inflation and soaring gas prices are shocking us. Confidence in Washington has never been lower. There are serious concerns about more violence on the streets in the months to come. Evidence of climate change dominate the news. The COVID pandemic refuses to give up.

However, we, as followers of Jesus Christ, shall not give up sharing the Good News. Our mission, to preach the Gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ, remains critically important in these trying times. God is in the mix and through the power of the Holy Spirit we shall overcome. Even though despair tempts us, God holds us. We can and must hold onto hope.

While it is easy to conclude, “Things are getting worse and worse.” The reality is that things are staying the same. The seven deadly sins engulf our world daily: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. Human nature is not changing. But the good news is that God isn’t changing either. Our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is still on the job working, healing, blessing, loving, redeeming and making all things new. When we seek to live God’s way, we can and will be blessed by the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:5)

How can things move from bad to good? The Holy Spirit helps us. The Holy Spirit was there – here – from day one. Even before the creation of the world, even before creation was born, the Holy Spirit is. Jesus promised it. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you … Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:26-27

The Holy Spirit shows up on Sunday, at prayer meetings, during Sunday school classes; it shows up in the faces of our children at AWANA and in the energy of our youth at church camp. It is revealed in recovery meetings and counseling sessions. The Holy Spirit is a way of living that connects us with God. While knowledge is important, seeking the Holy Spirit causes us to understand.

The enemy of Christianity isn’t atheism – it is apathy. It is lowering our expectations of what God can do, which then lets us off the hook for doing anything at all. Can we change the world? You bet. We can do it one life at a time. Apathy is the enemy and hope is the remedy.

Hope is not optimism. Optimism believes things will be OK. Hope believes things will be OK because God is at work to make it so. Hope is not passive. Hope knows that God is counting on us to do our part. When we seek to become more like Jesus, we are changing the world around us. When we keep moving forward in our faith, repenting of our sins, becoming more Christ-like we can build a hopeful faith for tomorrow.

God is not done with you. How can you welcome the work of the Spirit in your life? How can you live more hopefully and actively to bless, share, forgive, heal and love? By developing your character – the fruit of the Spirit – and your calling in life – the gifts of the Spirit. That is what it means to be faith.

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