The Light at the End of the Spiral

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This past month my newsfeed has been filled with posts lamenting the downward spiral of secular culture. The hottest topics in Christian circles seem to be the U.S. presidential candidates and the turmoil over transgender bathrooms. And the entire country is lamenting the tragedy in Orlando. Certainly there is much to be dismayed over. And it’s good to think through and process the implications of various laws and policy decisions. But as believers in Christ, do we differ in any significant ways from our culturally conservative, but unbelieving neighbors?

It’s easy to join in the conservative complaint-fest over how society is disintegrating around us. It’s easy to idealize 1950s middle-class America and imagine that everything would be better “if only we could go back to the nation we once were.” But Christians are called to be salt and light. We are called to stand for truth and make war against sin. So aren’t we also called to a perspective larger than this world, a vision more glorious than an imaginary 1950s, and a hope deeper than the reversal of ungodly laws?

One Day All Will Be New

I recently finished an eight-month study of the book of Revelation. By the end, I had thought I might have my eschatology nailed down, but I don’t. Instead, God has helped me grasp a bigger picture of life, a picture that rises above the trials and temptations of the everyday and focuses on the eternal. I was reminded that I am only a sojourner on this earth. In our sin-filled world, there will be suffering and pain and heartache, but I don’t need to be focused on those temporal realities. This is not the end. Jesus is coming back! And there is a home prepared for us that is free from the evil and sadness of this world.

Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:3–4)

One day he will make all things new. The gunshots will cease and we’ll only ever hear the sweet song of peace. We will never have to choose between disappointing presidential candidates, because the King of kings will reign forever from his throne. There will be no confusion over gender identity. There will be no discontentment or unmet needs. There will be no tears or anger or grief as families mourn over loved ones who seem to have lost their lives much too early.

A Faith Built on Trust

So how should this impact how we live today? I have pondered that question often this year, especially in the midst of my own trials. Because of the eternal hope we have, we don’t need to constantly bemoan the state of the world or our own circumstances. We don’t need to complain to family and friends about ridiculous government decisions or why we’re (possibly) not even casting a presidential ballot in November’s election. Is God surprised by any of the wickedness in the world? Is he not sovereign over evil, purposing for it to even serve the good of his people and the glory of his name?

God’s plans are to be trusted, even when they don’t make sense to us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9).

Because of our hope in the eternal, we should be the most joy-filled people on earth, even as we weep with those who weep. We should pray earnestly for our leaders and the state of our nation, and seek to make wise and informed decisions in regards to our own families. We should be willing to serve and to sacrifice, knowing that one day we will have no unmet needs. We will be perfectly content, perfectly rested, full of the Lord’s peace, joy, and hope.

As Peter reminds us, we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3). We are commanded to rejoice, even though, for a little while, we are grieved by various trials. For we are not without hope. We have an imperishable, undefiled, unfading inheritance kept in heaven for us by God’s power (1 Peter 1:4–6).

These beautiful promises of Scripture should make us different than the unbelievers around us who are dismayed at many of the same things going on in our world. We have a hope that is unseen. A hope that should transform the way we think, speak, post, and act. In the midst of the chaos of this world, there is a light at the end of the downward spiral. May we shine like stars in the universe among the grumblings of this world, trusting in a risen Savior who has promised to return and make everything right.

(@StacyReaoch) is a pastor’s wife and mother of four. Stacy and her husband, Ben, serve Three Rivers Grace Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the author of the forthcoming book Wilderness Wanderings: Finding Contentment in the Desert Times of Life (November). You can find more of her writing on Facebook.