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Look To The Son

The need for hope

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that life is full of uncertainty. It often twists and turns in directions we could not have anticipated and we can find ourselves caught off guard. Whenever we turn on the news, switch on our smartphones or open a newspaper we are bombarded with reports of wars, accidents, natural disasters and disease. We have become accustomed to being misled and manipulated by lawmakers and people in positions of authority. The entertainment industry's glamourization of sexual immorality, violence, deception and crime threatens to dampen our own sense of morality. Inflation and the rising cost of living can leave us with a sense of fear and uncertainty about the future. It’s hardly surprising that depression and anxiety are on the rise year on year. Our world is broken and people are lost. Is there any hope?

Look up not around

Let me take you back to Old Testament times to the time of the prophet Elisha. Picture the scene: the King of Syria has decided to go to war against Israel and is plotting to set up camp in strategic locations around the land. The prophet Elisha, full of the spirit of God, is feeding back the very thoughts of the Syrian leader to the King of Israel, allowing him to warn his people.

The King of Syria is not impressed! And when he discovers who is responsible for leaking his military secrets he decides to strike at the source. He sends an enormous army to surround the city where the Prophet is staying. Elisha’s servant is afraid - how can they possibly stand against such an attack?!

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. - 2 Kings 6:17

So the prophet Elisha does something amazing. He petitions God on behalf of his servant, saying: “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see”. The passage tells us that God responds by indeed opening the servant’s eyes and he sees that the mountains are full of horses and chariots of fire all around. He finds courage in knowing that the Lord’s army is standing with them and it is clear there are far more with them than against them!

What changed was not the situation, it was the perspective.

Which eyes will you look through?

Jesus himself warned us that we would experience difficulties in this life. But with that warning came a glorious message of hope - that like the Prophet’s servant, those seemingly insurmountable challenges would not overcome us.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John‬ ‭16:33

While we cannot deny the challenges and evil we see and experience in the world around us, what is different for us is our perspective because we have something far greater to fix our eyes on.

Like the apostle Peter stepping out in faith onto the water - we stay afloat by keeping our eyes fixed on the one who can do all things, the one who came to conquer sin and death, the same one who calls us his own.

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith”. - Hebrews 12:2

Jesus invites us to make a choice. To be in the world but no part of the world, to be aware of but not sharing in its hopelessness. We do not have to be weighed down by the evil around us because we have a better hope for the future - the promise of one day being with our Lord forever. We can choose to look to Jesus in faith.

Train your eyes

In Ephesians 1:18, the Apostle Paul prayed for the church "that the eyes of [their] heart would be enlightened" and that they would be able to experience the fullness of life that comes from knowing Jesus. What about us? We too can pray for God to open our spiritual eyes to see beyond the world's darkness to the incredible blessing that comes from being in relationship with Jesus. Training our eyes doesn't happen in an instant, rather its a process. Just like our physical eyes adjusting to the light, as we walk with Jesus, speak with him in prayer and learn about him through the scriptures, we see him clearer and clearer every day.

The message of hope is for everyone

We are blessed and privileged to know Jesus and to have a hope that allows us to live without fear despite the things we see and hear. But that hope is not just for us, it’s for the whole world.

"Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear". - Matthew 13:16

Jesus told his disciples that a lamp is not lit and hid under a basket, it’s positioned so that it can provide light to the whole room (Matthew 5:15). In the same way we can be a light to the world around us. The way we carry ourselves, our attitude, our peace, joy and confidence despite the things we see and hear, do not go unnoticed. They are light and salt in the world, a walking witness of the transformational power of a living life with Jesus.

Let us endeavour to share the hope of the gospel with those around us, so that they too would be set free from fear and hopelessness by looking to the Son.


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