The Doomsday Clock has been in the news again. A group of scientists use global catastrophe indicators to reset the hands of the clock. The current setting is two minutes to apocalyptic midnight! Their message: choices (made or avoided) have put earth’s future at high risk. What about our future as individuals? There is no personal symbolic clock, but there is the Spirit and Word offering (and overseeing) a satisfying, purposeful life-journey with an amazing climax.
Exiled Israel lost homeland, national identity and freedom because of sin. But God’s promise came as light on a dark horizon: he had plans to give you a hope and a future Jeremiah 29:11. Not immediately. For 70 years they would learn to live as agents of blessing in pagan Babylon and to pray his promise. Then the Lord would restore them, not just to their land but to a future leading to the hope-event: the arrival of Messiah.
God’s promise not only guaranteed the great hope-event, but also the journey towards it. The future was more than an assurance of survival, the certainty of another tomorrow; it was the promise of a blessed life-journey shaped by the anticipation of the coming hope-event. And the larger the anticipation of that event, the greater its impact on their journey towards it.
As followers of Jesus, we have a wonderful, New Covenant vantage. We see the hope-event in two parts: Part 1, Christ’s arrival as Saviour and Part 2, his return as glorious King. The new birth set us on a journey (the absolute best) which leads to, and is shaped by the magnificent hope-event, Part 2. The certainty of that coming, glorious crescendo – the appearance of the unveiled Jesus, the powerful exclamation point that will end the old and begin the eternal new – shines over all our tomorrows, cutting through even the darkest approaching clouds, to fill our days with hope. Our perspective on living is directly influenced by our heart’s connection to the hope-event.
Yes, the hope-event is a comfort when facing life’s harsh storms (see 1 Peter 1:13. a message to believers having a rough time). But it’s not a mental escape chute to avoid dealing with present realities. Hope doesn’t disengage us from the present, but shapes how we live it. Hope and future are inseparable.
Hope has a powerful influence on prayer, and prayer impacts lifestyle. Hope dresses all prayer (even lament) in rejoice always. Anticipation of Christ’s unveiled brilliance stirs us to pray as his admirers now. The certainty of his coming strengthens our prayers of desire for him. It stretches our praying for Christ’s kingdom, deepens prayer passion for his glory on earth and compels urgency in asking for harvest.
The timing of the hope-event is the Father’s secret. But we do know that each day of our remaining future – short or long – is his gift, inseparably attached to that great Day.
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 1Peter 1:13
Using the above as an anchor verse, pray the following:
- Celebration – share in the Lord’s JOY at every thought of the day of his return
- Consecration – set your hope so that it shapes the way you view future and live your tomorrows
- Ask – focus on a less-reached nation or community. Ask for urgent gospel breakthrough – a revelation of Jesus that frees the hopeless to the hope and a future that is in Christ alone.