A man approached a little league baseball game. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “18 – 0, we’re behind.” “Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” replied the boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!
“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.” ― Hal Lindsey
People today are fearful and anxious about what’s next. They are worried about the future and don’t know what’s ahead. They have no hope.
Jesus described the worst time in the world – The Great Tribulation Period. Nothing we have ever or will ever go through will compare with this horrible time. Yet, Jesus gave His disciples hope. Jesus gives all His followers hope.
What gives believers in Jesus hope for tribulations?
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; … Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: … And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:25-28)
The Great Tribulation Period will be the worst 7 years the world will ever face. It will intensify as it gets near the end. Jesus described the doom and distress of that time. Fearful events and signs will happen on earth and in the sky. Even the most courageous hearts will melt in fear. Yet, there is hope because as it gets worse, it gets closer to the return of Jesus. Jesus will return on the clouds with power and glory and set up His eternal kingdom on the earth. If you are a believer, you will return with Him. The hope of the believer is to see Jesus. Hope will get through a lot of hardship.
In a Peanut’s cartoon Lucy and Linus were sitting in front of the television set when Lucy said to Linus, “Go get me a glass of water.” Linus looked surprised, “Why should I do anything for you? You never do anything for me.” “On your 75th birthday,” Lucy promised, “I’ll bake you a cake.” Linus got up, headed to the kitchen and said, “Life is more pleasant when you have something to look forward to.”
Though believers hope to see Jesus, not everyone is ready. Are you ready to meet Jesus?
We have hope for a place – HEAVEN.
…Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know … that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. (Luke 21:29-32)
Jesus told a parable about a fig tree that may help give a timetable to His return. You can tell the time of year by the growth of a fig tree. In the Bible, a fig tree represented the nation of Israel. This parable teaches that people will know the return of Jesus is near when the nation of Israel has growth. Many equate this growth when Israel was recognized as a nation in 1948. Jesus said a generation will not pass until all this is fulfilled. In other words, Jesus will return within a generation of Israel becoming a nation again. What is a generation? Genesis 15:13-16 indicates that a generation is about 100 years. I am not putting a date on the Lord’s return. However, we know that it is closer than it was yesterday.
Christians look forward to the return of Jesus. His return is in two phases. First, Jesus will come for His followers to take them to Heaven before the Tribulation. This is commonly called the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). At the end of the seven years of Tribulation, Jesus will return with His followers to set up His kingdom. Whether the rapture or a believer’s death, we will go to Heaven. That is certainly something to look forward to.
Millionaire Eugene Land had been asked to speak to a class of 59 6thgraders in East Harlem. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? He decided to speak to them from his heart. “Stay in school,” he admonished, “and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you.” At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope. Said one student, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.” Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.
Just because you’re looking forward to going to Heaven doesn’t mean you sit around waiting for it to happen. There are things to do. When Jesus told a parable about a landowner who left , he told his workers to “occupy till I come”. As believers, we have work to do. Especially as we see the day draw nearer, we need to share the message of Jesus. Is there someone you should share the Gospel with?
The story is told of a little town that was to be flooded, as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built. In the months before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was to be wiped out? So, week by week, the whole town became more and more run down. Why? Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.