Read Philippians 1:12-24
Think back for a moment to January 1, 2020. Over the last several weeks, this day has played time and time again in my head. I had spent much of that morning setting goals, dreaming about what the year had in store, and cooking sauerkraut for a gathering with my friends that evening.
2020 had promised so much.
The start of a new decade. A commencement into a new chapter of history. But as we know, what was supposed to be a fresh beginning to a new tomorrow quickly turned into chaos in early March. Our lives were upended. Loved ones died at the hands of a novel disease. What once looked like a promising future quickly diminished into a cloud of uncertainty.
The author of today’s reading, Paul, was prone to uncertainty himself. He was imprisoned multiple times, shipwrecked, and beaten, not because of who he was but because of Who he followed. As Paul is writing this letter to his dear friends in the church of Phillipi, he was being imprisoned in a Roman jail. Certainly, he had every reason to feel uncertain about his future. Yet, his confidence is striking.
Paul’s confidence in tomorrow was not dependent on his present condition. His confidence in tomorrow was in the eternal hope of Jesus Christ. He might not have known the purpose of the pain at the moment, but he knew the provision through the pain was his Savior. Walking through the fire is difficult. Wandering through the valley at times can feel like it is endless. Paul reminds us today, though, that, even in those seasons, the seasons when we look around us and all hope seems lost, we need to look up. Look up to heaven and gaze at our great God. Friends, our hope is not in today, our hope is not in this world; our hope is in the promise of a God who defeated the grave.
None of us know what tomorrow holds, but I know one thing for certain. Tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, Jesus Christ is King. His life, death, and resurrection from the grave are the only hope I need. These days are difficult, and I, like you, often find myself discouraged at the events of our time; but I invite you to join me today in heeding Paul’s words and rejoice in the uncertain. Rejoice because we have hope, not just for tomorrow, but for eternity.
Listen to “You Keep Hope Alive”