I pulled into the garage, turned off the car, and called my brother. He had good news. It was the long-awaited kind of good news that hit you with a wave of emotion and relief. Years of hardship, years of struggle finally slid out of the way so that rays of sunshine could cascade down brilliantly. And there was joy, unadulterated and all-encompassing, for the first time in a very long time.
Somewhere in the midst of his details, my brother casually commented, “The future is no longer bleak.”
Whoa! I had to interject. This thinking, this comment could not go unaddressed. My brother, the one who comfortably read his bible in bed after hanging out all night with friends, the one who got up when he was eight years old to confess his belief in Jesus, the one whom I followed to the altar, even though I am the big sister, because I didn’t want to be left alone on the pew at church, thought (even if just for a moment) that his future was bleak!
“Bro, your future was never bleak!” I fussed in love. “That was a lie Satan told you!”
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10a, NKJV)
Friend, Satan loves to make us believe that God’s promises to His children are not real, too big, or reserved for everyone except us. Once that seed is planted, if unchecked, it can grow into something so hideous, so dangerous that the chasm between us and God feels too large to ever surmount, and if we believe that life’s situations are bigger than God, Satan wins. If the obstacles, difficulties, and traumas of this world become giants we are too afraid to face, Satan wins. The only thing Satan wants, because he knows Jesus has already defeated him, is to take down as many people with him as possible, and if the people he takes down are believers, he is thrilled. We are the Rolls-Royces. We are the proverbial cherries on top. Getting us to forget our exodus, forget our blessing, and forget our Savior is an inestimable boon because we, when we operate in the Spirit, tell our testimony, use our spiritual gifts, and evangelize the world, spreading the good news of Jesus, helping to bring others to knowledge of and relationship with God.
Satan knows our power when we operate in the authority of Christ. If he can woo us into inaction, depression, despair, addiction, violence, lust, and worldly desire, we cannot do what God has purposed us to do. Remember, Satan and his demons are tracking our every move. Satan knows exactly what our flesh likes. He knows exactly where we are weak. He is stalking us, hounding us to get us to give in to him instead of giving our lives over to God in faithful obedience, trust, and love. When he plants doubts and whispers lies in our ears, he is hoping that our flesh will take precedent over the word of God.
But when we stand firm, we demonstrate that we know the truth: It is impossible to have a bleak future when you are a child of the King!
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10: 10b, NKJV)
Nothing in the Bible promises us a struggle-free life. We are each called to pick up our crosses. With Jesus, though, there is ease and lightness (Matthew 11: 30). With Jesus, there is a lasting peace (John 14: 27). With Jesus there is sufficient grace for all that we need (2 Corinthians 12: 9).
Our belief in Jesus and what He did to redeem us result in salvation, but our faithful action in the here and now, before we move into our eternal destiny, guarantees us an abundance. The world may not see it or even understand it as such, but we know the truth! We will stand when the world expects us to fall. We will have joy when the world is sorrowful. We will have peace in the midst of chaos, not because of anything we have done, but because of Whom we serve! We endure longer than what seems possible. We love more fiercely than what’s deemed rational. We forgive faster than what appears to be sane. None of that will be in vain!
“It was never bleak because you never acted like it was,” I continued with my brother.
Friend, we are all prone to stumbling on this faith journey, but when the going gets tough, Christians in right relationship with Christ get out of bed, shake off the dust of disappointment, and get back in the game. We do not languish or wallow in self-pity. We plug back into the Source, and against the odds and naysayers and even the inclinations of our own flesh, we press on through faith.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” (Psalm 91: 14-15, NKJV)