Hope For The Perplexed

Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it.” Daniel 8:27, NLT

Challenging times are part of God’s bigger and divine plan. The history of humankind is full of twists and turns and makes sense only when we look at it from God’s perspective. With the Covid 19 pandemic, the Ukraine war and the collapse of major banks, we are living in the end times that is reminiscent of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. We need to wait on God to understand what is God revealing to us in His Word. We have hope in our perplexing times because there is a God who reveals secrets and has shown us the meaning of what is happening in our world. Daniel gave King Nebuchadnezzar a panoramic view of the future of the kingdoms in the Middle East and predicted how God’s Kingdom on earth will come through Jesus Christ.1

Although Daniel was deeply troubled by the visions he received during the first and third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, he continued to perform his duties until the time came for him to interpret King Belshazzar’s dream that proclaimed the downfall of the Babylonian empire.2 There are many mysteries about God’s ways that we cannot or will not be able to  understand – God cannot be locked up in a book! Like Daniel, we will be greatly troubled by what is happening in the world but we can trust that in God’s own time He will grant us understanding of His thoughts and His ways. Like Daniel, we are to do God’s will without regard for the rewards of this world.3

The Good News is that Jesus Christ came to give us the Spirit of Truth to guide us into all truth and to tell us about the future.4 As we grow old, we will face a future filled with loss, suffering and death. Like Daniel, we will be deeply troubled. But we need not fear bad news or be paralyzed by fear when we confidently trust that the Lord cares for us.5 We can choose to see the winter of life as a time to grow in faith. God has given us everything we need to live a godly life. We have been given great and precious promises to enable us to escape from the world’s corruption caused by human desires and to share in the divine nature of Jesus Christ.6

At Pentecost, Peter quoted the prophet Joel who prophesied that in the last days, God will pour out His Spirit upon all people – sons and daughters will prophesy, young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams. There will be wonders in the heavens above and signs of the earth below before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.7 

For the early Christians, to call on God’s name was to face death and persecution. However, the early Christians held fast to the truth of Joel 2:32 that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved from the terrifying day of God’s judgment. The early disciples were not afraid of the judgment of men but respected God’s judgment against sin and evil. They lived out their belief in Jesus Christ by following Him to the cross. In Christ, we have every spiritual gift we need as we eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by grace that we will be kept strong and free from all blame on the day when Christ returns.8  

God’s kingdom is always an upside down kingdom. In the modern world, the young are obsessed with virtual realities while the old are grappling with spiritual realities. Visions from God are to empower us to do God’s will. Dreams can be expressions of our fears and desires that are buried deep within our unconscious minds. We are to encourage one another to live in a way God would consider worthy for we are called to share in Christ’s kingdom and glory.9 

God’s ways are not our ways. To follow Jesus is to be God’s 20% who are shining as lights in a dark world of sin – to live with love, joy and peace in the kingdom of heaven. Without Jesus, we will be the 80% living in hell on earth. To follow Christ is to stay alert to spiritual realities and to persevere with difficult people and situations. The challenge is to cultivate the habit to pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.10

To do so, we need to spend time each morning doing nothing but to wait on God. This is not to daydream about our fantasies but the simple act to surrendering our will as a living sacrifice so that we can see God’s vision and dream God’s dreams. It is a time of preparation to open our minds to the Holy Spirit so that we can see the spiritual truths in the bible that we need to apply in our lives.

We are living in perplexing times. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the old can dream dreams. Life’s journey through old age will be exciting and not daunting when we look for God’s surprises. For we have a hope that burns within our hearts and gives us strength for each passing day:

“There is a hope that lifts my weary head,
A consolation strong against despair,
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit,
I find the Saviour there!
Through present sufferings, future’s fear,
He whispers ‘courage’ in my ear.
For I am safe in everlasting arms,
And they will lead me home.”11

SDG

Notes:

  1. Daniel 2:28-45, NLT
  2. Daniel 8:15-27, NLT
  3. Daniel 5:17-29, NLT
  4. John 16:13, NLT
  5. Psalms 112:7, NLT
  6. 2 Peter 1:3-4, NLT
  7. Acts 2:17, NLT
  8. 1 Corinthians 1:9, NLT
  9. 1 Thess 2:12, NLT
  10.  Ephesians 6:18, NLT
  11.  There is a hope, Stuart Townend
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