My favorite coffee shop has a chalkboard with weekly questions for the public to respond to. This week’s question was “what gives you hope?” The scrawled answers ranged from coffee to politicians to Jesus.
Are we hopeful?
Of course, I got the warm-fuzzies when I saw that other people share my hope in Christ, but it got me thinking. Really, when the world feels cold and evil, do we feel hopeful? What about the life-pain of our friends and families? Or the selfish and sinful nature we constantly find in ourselves? What about heart-wrenching news headlines we couldn’t have even dreamed up?
I read Habakkuk recently, which is an itty-bitty prophecy book tucked into the Old Testament. In it I found truths that apply to this dilemma. I recommend you read it or even skim it, because it’s beautiful, honest, and has helped me understand God more.
Even when evil seems unfettered, God has a plan of justice. I may think he’s disregarding the world’s hurt. I may think his ways are unfair. Sometimes I even think I’d run the world differently than he does. . . But I can take heart in knowing that his very character is faithfulness and justice.
The two sides of God
All evil will be punished in the end, because the Lord cannot dwell with it. The promise of him storming the earth in all his glory and might is awful. His wrath is something I could not bear, not in the slightest. How grateful and humble I am that my evil has been cast upon Jesus on the cross, instead of coming back on my own head! God’s justice is a certain, terrifying reality.
And yet, somehow, this is the same God who I pray to, meet with daily, and who knows all about me and loves me tenderly. I’m still trying to reconcile and understand these two sides to God: how he can be such a sacrificing and affectionate Father, but at the same time a wrathful and tremendous avenger.
Why it makes sense
It comes down to evil and righteousness. God hates evil: impartially, always. And if Jesus hasn’t taken it upon himself and paid the One sacrifice or it, it’s still there and unpaid for. God cannot and will not tolerate it. That’s why Jesus’ sacrifice was so necessary and so powerful! It re-routes God’s wrath and hatred away from us, makes us spotless, and welcomes us gladly into his presence. This is the difference between God’s love and judgment.
So, even while the world is broken, we have hope. The Bible often shows the Lord coming to rescue his child and bring shame and destruction to the wicked one. When I finished reading Habakkuk, I was filled with such a humility and thankfulness. I am a sinner: deserving all of God’s wrath. But Jesus has brought me into safety, righteousness, and joy. And there is a promised end to the pain and senseless evil we see in this world! We can have constant assurance and hope in our Lord. We are fully known, completely loved, and given hope.
Who am I that the highest King would welcome me?
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Follow me on social media for post updates!