There’s nothing more torturous, yet more necessary, than hope.
There is nothing more satisfying than a realized hope, and there’s nothing more sickening than having your hopes dashed. Truly, the words Proverbs 13:12 resonate with our experience: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
We can’t help but hope. We hope for better days, for fulfilled dreams, for restored relationships, for financial security, for personal happiness. We tell ourselves the risk is worth the reward, we plug our ears when the pessimists call our hopes “wishful thinking” and we guard vigilantly against any threat to our hopes.
Perhaps you’ve seen it on Facebook. Perhaps you’ve heard it on the blogosphere. People are getting antsy under quarantine, no surprise there. Our worst fears about the Coronavirus have not been realized, praise the Lord there! But all of this raises several difficult questions. How long can they do this? How long can governors keep our economy shut down? How long can churches legitimately be told they can’t meet in person? How do we respond to violations of the constitution? And most importantly how do we as Christians think about being Americans?
Maybe it’s just me, but have you ever noticed that Christians who heavily emphasize holiness often lack openness and honesty? Have you ever noticed that Christians who heavily emphasize openness and honesty often lack holiness?
One church seems to be filled with people who seem to have it all together, but who never bear the burdens of others or share their own. They keep to themselves, play the part, and mind their own business.
Another church is open, friendly, inviting, and ‘real,’ but never takes holiness too seriously. “Rawness” is elevated above righteousness.
Openness and Holiness—are they friends or enemies?
On January 26, 2020, our world was shocked to hear of the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. He was just 41 years old. Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also killed in the crash. Our hearts sink just thinking about the family members still alive that are affected by this. I was personally moved, because I can understand a little of the pain they are going through. I lost my brother, sister-in-law, and their unborn baby girl to a bus crash that happened right in front of me. It was a tragedy that seemed to sap the vitality of life right out of me. All of this tragedy has left many people asking the same age-old question that man has been asking:
I’m sure you know the tragic story of Joshua Harris: a respected Christian author, a pastor for 17 years, and a leading voice for sexual purity in the Christian community, who left his wife, left his faith, and left Jesus.
It was a shocking moment for many, especially those who had been impacted by his writing and preaching. It was shocking to me. It made me question some things: how do we know if someone is truly saved? If it’s true that “you shall know them by their fruits,” how do I know which fruits are fraudulent and which ones are genuine?
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