The Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 119
Feeling discouraged? We have reasons to hope this year
After nearly two years now of unforeseen disruption to our normal lives, it is reasonable to think 2022 may not be a year to be hopeful about. What a shame for those whose worldview is not through the lens of Christ and His Word! Going into next year, I think it’s important to be intentional about viewing our circumstances in this world apart and separate from our hope in Jesus and the certain future God gives us.
We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
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Pressed, But Not Crushed
We are squeezed for a purpose, but not constrained from productive action. This is an important distinction to remember and some may not recognize the difference. The pressing of 2020 and 2021 has not crushed us. We certainly didn’t desire it, either. Let the pressing be used in you as intended – to get from you what God desires.
Perplexed, But Not in Despair
We may feel confused, but we’re not without hope. I think “perplexed” is a great description of the last couple years. Unfortunately, despair is exactly where so many people find themselves. That’s also exactly where the enemy wants us. The road of confusion has two exits available. One of despair in circumstances which leads to destruction, and one of hope that leads to life. If confusion of what has happened and where you are now is gripping you, I strongly encourage you to spend time before the 2022 new year meditating on God’s Word in hope of a bright future.
Persecuted, But Not Abandoned
We may have trouble in this life as Jesus has warned us, but we’re always in His grip. This point is felt much greater by many of you in other parts of the world. Though evildoers of this world may do evil things against you, God is for you and with you. Even if your circumstances are not at that level, you may feel alone. We hear this all the time from pastors who simply lack the listening ear of someone who won’t judge them or betray them. If you have no one else to reach out to, we’d be glad to listen. Most of all, Jesus has not forsaken you.
Struck Down, But Not Destroyed
This world may drive us to our knees, but death has no power over us. No matter how you feel today, you have not been destroyed, and you never will be. He who gave you spiritual life will sustain for eternity. Don’t lose heart.
We may find brief solace in 2022 in news headlines of declining covid numbers, or church reports of increasing guests, but Jesus has already won our final prize. Times will change, and things of this world will surely bring disappointment, but Christ will always be true and hold us up.
The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.
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A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive and travels internationally to teach and train pastors to lead healthy disciple-making churches. A.J. lives in the Ft. Worth, Texas area, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.