Future hope, freedom now!

posted in: Andy Blogs | 0

So we have arrived in the future! Last week in fact…. 21st October 2015! Well that is according to the Back to the Future II movie which was set in 1985.

There were a number of news items in the US and UK press about the movie and what was predicted. Anyone own a hover board yet?

The movie is a very lighthearted peek at future possibilities. Arguably it contrasts quite sharply with more recent future movies such as The Hunger Games, based on the books of the same name. which seem to paint a much harsher dystopian perspective.

Yet what of reality?

We live in a world in which there is incredible beauty – whether it be mountainous landscapes or the simplicity of spider webs here in our back garden, illuminated by November sunlight. There is amazing richness brought through human creativity and cultural diversity. Plus outstanding acts of service and sacrifice on the part of some for others.

All these are things we can celebrate.

Yet also we see on-going conflict in Syria and the connected refugee crisis impacting into Western Europe particularly. That has stirred in its wake controversy and a mix of opinions on how best to respond. Troubles continue in Iraq, northern Nigeria, Sudan and on the Ukrainian/Russian border to name but a few others. Unexpected and sudden tragedies strike such as with the Russian airliner crash in the Sinai or the people caught up in a fire at a Romanian night club at the end of last week.

How to respond to such things?

Firstly, I would say if you believe in praying (as I guess most people who read this will) – let’s ask the Lord to show us how to pray.

Secondly, let’s be open to how we can respond practically.

When we hear of such things, how does it make us feel about this world and the future?

Often at ICL we speak about following Christ as being ‘good news’. At present we are focusing particularly on there being ‘freedom in Christ’. How does this all connect?

In 2 Peter 3:14, we can read, “in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”

A new heaven and a new earth? Is that the stuff of fantasy? Is it escapism to believe in such things?

Well according to what can be read in the Bible, it is not just the content of dreams but a promised and sure hope. Why? Because God has promised and He can be trusted – “the Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made” (Psalm 145:13)

God keeps his promises – do we believe that?

To be honest there have been times in my life when I have doubted that God does keep to His promises or that may be it was true for others but not in my case! Ever been there? Perhaps you are in that place right now due to something that has been happening.

He can be trusted, there is hope.

Hope in the Bible means something that is certain and God himself is described as the God of hope (Romans 15:13). So He is the source of the hope that we need and we can receive.

A call to follow Christ is a call to freedom. Not to just do whatever we want of course – ¬†ultimately that could be anarchy and chaos if all fully embraced doing whatever they wished! It is about being free to be able to live in God’s grace, to know His forgiveness and life change and to then live and serve flowing out from this.

Does that immune us from tough things? No it does not. That has been brought home again to us as a family in the past couple of weeks with the sudden death of my mum. It has been a real shock and still seems so unreal.

Yet my mum lived with that sense of there being freedom in Christ and that part of that was future hope. She knew due to the Lord’s grace in her life, brought through Jesus Christ, where she was going to be for eternity. ¬†One of her favourite phrases from the Bible was, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have trusted to him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12)

That is real hope in Christ. Do we have such confidence? If not, why not take some time to pray and ask God about this? If you are not sure you are a Christian yet, why not speak with some Christian friends about this? God does not have favorites – all can experience His hope.

If we say we do have confidence in Christ, how does it shape our daily lives? Do we know that nothing – really nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39)? That means no circumstance, past, present or future can separate us.

How can we live in the light of such freedom and future hope so that others too might see the ‘good news’?