by Timm Heath, Jr.
Why does it feel like we are in decline? Because in one way, we are. The culture, demographics and economics of our nation (and world) have changed around us. “The way things are” has rapidly become “the way things were” whether we like it or not. We face a new world with new challenges and new opportunities–a new world, a new America, a new neighborhood–wherever you are.
This is unsettling and frightening because we were comfortable with the way the world was. We understood it; we could work with it. We grieve because that world–and so it feels, part of us–has passed away. In the face of this pain and confusion, the devil tempts us with hopelessness. “Give up,” he whispers, “You’re through. It was a good run, but what can you do? Nothing lasts forever.”
But the devil knows that’s a lie. He knows the one unshakable thing in this world: “The word of the Lord endures forever” (Is. 40:8). And because the Word stands–because Jesus stands–so shall we, His Church–all of us who live in Him. In Him we have a sure hope that can never be shaken:
- Hope of light in the darkness, strength in our weakness, healing for our pain.
- Hope of unquenchable life and resurrection.
- Hope for a new world.
- Hope in a Lord who has lives with us and remains with us through every change.
Yes, the world has changed around us–but it is still a world of dying hearts and broken spirits. It’s still a world of violence, hatred and fear; a world of racism, addiction and despair. It’s a still a world of hopelessness. So it’s still a world that desperately needs Jesus and His unchanging mercy, a world that desperately needs us–God’s children and messengers and servants–to bring Jesus to the dying and broken and wounded. And so no matter the changes, no matter the culture, demographics or economics, the Church will always stand to proclaim the hope of Jesus to the hopeless sufferers of the world, of America and of your own neighborhood.
The old way of doing things is passing away. The world has changed. But Jesus stands, unshakable and unchanging, forever. As we cling to Him, we have hope for the future. That hope gives us courage–courage to face the reality of our decline and still press on. That hope gives us freedom–freedom to stride into the new world without fear and meet what opportunities we find there. That hope will not disappoint us. Jesus will not fail us. Jesus endures forever.