“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you might speak of the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” [1 Peter 2:9]
We hear this scripture and can easily make the analogy in our everyday lives living in this world full of moral darkness. There is an overwhelmingly darkness cast over America today that seems to undercut the effectiveness of small amounts of light shining through. We see waves of school shootings, numerous sexual assaults and scandals, and growing violence. There was even a gang related shoot-out in a Chuck-E-Cheese’s parking lot down the road from my college! With prayer banned from schools, evolution taught as fact, gay marriages accepted, political correctness wiping away absolutes, and the various actions taken that proudly proclaim that we are not a Christian nation anymore – where are we headed? Is there a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel?
The Bible tells us that in the end days, men would be lover of themselves and that the earth would be filled with violence worse than ever before! [2 Tim 3:2] We can clearly see that we are going down in flames quickly into our present moral decay every time we turn on the news, or any other channel on TV. But amidst all this negativity there is hope! Christ’s message, the gospel, is the GOOD news of the Kingdom of God, and gives us a wonderful picture of a future full of peace and happiness.
But obviously, that Kingdom is not here on earth yet. We get a glimpse of it every Sabbath hopefully, but we are often zapped back to reality on the weekdays, going to school or work out in the world. Unfortunately we can sometimes lose sight of the vision received when drawn close to God. Like most things unseen, it takes a lot of faith for us to fully comprehend this message. It’s easier said than grasped.
I think this is why God has His church observe the Holy Days as a constant reminder of His plan and just for some simple hope in this crazy mixed-up world of ours! [see God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind] He gives us that hope of a promised time ahead when the sufferings of the world will cease; a time so awesome that the sufferings of this present world will not be worthy of holding us back from the glory of God that will be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18) That seems too good to be true to me sometimes, and we can almost dismiss what we consider an unfathomable Utopian future. To us it doesn’t make sense how something can be so completely wonderful! So how can we realize this calling and this future in our lives, hearts and minds and excited about it as we live out lives out now? How to we keep the candle burning in a darkened world?
Sorry, I don’t have the ONE right answer! But still, old or young, we can all take some steps now in our lives to have some more zeal for the House of God, and the future we’re all called to – into His marvelous light. Here are some ways to make God’s way of life more real to us and keep the candle burning:
- Notice the simple beauties in this corrupted world – and imagine more! Imagine what you think things may be like in a perfect world. What do you think will change?
- Look at the suffering around you, or your own personally, and make the Kingdom of God a goal worth fighting for – a place with no more tears or suffering (Revelation 21:4)
- Try to fathom how excited we can get when we fellowship with others of like mind (at the Feast of Tabernacles and/or every Sabbath) and know that that connection and bond will endure eternally, for they will be your friends forever. Literally!
- Think about answered prayers in your life or the lives of others, and even trials we go through – proof that God is still working with us, and will be faithful to complete it in us until the very end! (Philippians 1:6)
- Think of people you’re close to that don’t know God and remember the promise that God will call them at a better time for them, for God is not willing that any should perish but that all should have everlasting life. (2 Peter 2:9)
- Look at a small child and see the trust, enthusiasm, and zeal they possess and know that we will yet be renewed – becoming like a child in spirit to inherit the kingdom of God! Children can be excited about the future they’re assured of without a doubt in their little minds – before Satan can distract them from this wonderful hope.
- “And so shall we ever be with the Lord” The millennial rule of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom and beyond. This time of rest and peace is ultimately what the Sabbath pictures every week – the time when God’s plan will be realized and fulfilled!
These are some steps that help me to keep a hope and a zeal when I am running low. To avoid just going through the motions, next time at weekly services, try sharing with people hope that you have. Or maybe just pause during the song service to appreciate the feeling of unity that we have as one body of believers – singing in one voice with the same common hope, goal, and calling a having been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light! We have much to be excited about, so keep the candle burning!