Have you noticed the talking points of world news recently? Wars, rumors of war, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, floods, demonstrations in the streets, military muscles flexing, political unrest, various discriminations, mounting deceptions, despair. And more! Wow. What a state our world is in. Is it even possible to contemplate good plans for hope and a future?
You cannot be well-informed without noticing – it’s getting worse. I’ve noticed! Surely, you have, too. But interestingly, Jesus told us this was going to happen. Let’s look at several passages to get the flavor of His “heads-up” warnings.
This first passage in Matthew’s gospel gives both warning and comfort. How thoughtful of Jesus to esteem our partnership and position as His sons and daughters to give this critical information.
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”
What’s the take-away? My guess – no matter how terrible things get in the world, we can have assurance about good plans for hope and a future in Jesus Christ.
Then we move to a passage sounding alarmingly familiar to Matthew AND to news reports you hear every day. In the gospel of Mark –
“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”
My first reaction to current talking points of daily news is deep concern. But then I remember these words Jesus spoke. The deteriorating conditions are mounting, like mounting birth pains. And again – He gives a respectful “heads-up.”
So, we can conclude – God still promises good plans for hope and a future.
Luke 21: 25-28
Well, this next passage talks about the universe, the nations, and anguish of individuals.
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is going on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Hearing the stunning promise and pausing to picture what it will be like, my heart almost skips a beat. We’ll see Jesus breaking through the skies, returning to set everything right and establish His glorious Kingdom. Consequently, there will be no more fears and tears, suffering and turmoil, brokenness and threats.
So we should look up to Father and rejoice. Why?
Because Christ’s return is near with good plans for hope and a future.
I’m not sure what you’re thinking. But I’m thinking the content of these verses sounds familiar to current events. Through history, many Jesus followers thought His return was very soon.
However, things happening now have a persuading pattern of increase – like mounting birth pains. Since events build on one another, my attention is certainly engaged.
We Don’t Know
This isn’t my idea. Mk. 13:32 says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Jesus said this! He knew He didn’t know when He’d return. And He was totally OK with that. If He doesn’t know, you and I certainly can’t know! Are you OK with that?
What an incredible example. Simple trust in Father’s timing and good plans for hope and a future.
Jesus then says, “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”
Good Plans For Hope And A Future
Just when you think, “It can’t get any worse” – just as the human heart begins to shrivel and lose hope – God steps in with good news! He forewarns because of His love. He clues-you-in with wise instruction –“Keep your head in all situations.” (2 Tim.4:5)
God’s good news to you is Jer. 29:11-13. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
This is one of my favorite Scriptures. It nurtures my spirit, strengthens my daily efforts, renews my vision, and stirs my passion into action yet again.
God speaks about good plans for hope and a future. Strength for feeble hearts. Renewal for tired spirits. By intervening, He prepares a path in front of you. Incidentally, He also “prepares a table for you in the presence of your enemies!” (Ps. 23:5)
God knows what is best and promises good gifts to line your path. However, if you don’t receive these good gifts (by faith) then they’re still not yours. His gifts almost always look different than you picture.
The Same Yesterday, Today, And Forever
Not only does He promise to take care of you and be with you. God does not change like shifting shadows. This world changes constantly, and resulting shifting shadows cast doubt, fear, and threat over your life.
But God is not like that. He is the Giver of good plans for hope and a future.
Jas. 1:17 says. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
So, pause – and with rising confidence – simply trust, obey, and rest in the God of your salvation.
He Knows Plans For Hope And A Future
God knows all things. Since this includes everything about your life, He is aware of what’s behind you, what’s in your current scenario, and what’s in front of you. His special plans are good plans for hope and a future.
God knows how to help you through struggles and troubles. After all, He is wise – and a dear Friend. There is no power that can stop God. Therefore, you can fully trust Him with your needs, future, family, career, and your whole life.
Good Plans – To Prosper, Not To Harm
We can’t leave this material without mentioning one more reality Scripture predicts. Every time I read this next passage, I become sober and pensive.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Mt. 24:9-14)
Don’t panic or give in to the spirit of fear. “God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Tim.1:7) Instead, consider some of Jesus’ final words before He left earth (in the same way He will return). “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt.28:20)
He always has good plans for hope and a future.
Resources To Assist You In These End Times
Because times are increasingly challenging, I want to share some practical resources to help you live effectively in these difficult times. These are downloadable e-books developed for living in our current world scenario.
- I’m Not A Loser: How To Change Old Habits And Patterns – Gain practical action steps to help address personal life patterns so you can be as healthy and focused as possible. You don’t have to stay where you are. Keep learning and growing. God made you to excel!
- How To Effectively Get Into God’s Word: Even With A Super Busy Life – Get fresh ideas, strategies, and practical action steps to make your time in God’s Word alive and active each day in this fast-paced, demanding world. Make a difference with God’s ideas.
- Partner With God: How To Have An Alive And Active Life – It happens to everyone. But you can avoid just coasting along. You were created for more. God helps you engage your skill sets, abilities, personality, and creativity increasingly to be the person He designed.
- You Can Do This: Make Your Life A Meaningful “Yes!“ – Daily problem and challenges, disappointments and losses, unexpected twists – can leave you struggling and tired. This content gives action steps, ideas, and hope for meaningful days. Have personal purpose and influence for God.
Visit our website for devotional materials, articles, podcasts, and resources to help grow your faith in God. Pursue noble character and an Alive and Active Life.