It’s hard to have hope when things seem to be in decline. It’s hard to have faith when evil seems to prevail. But no cultural (or personal!) situation is too dark for the light of God’s word to overcome! As King Josiah discovered, there is always hope for a modern Reformation through the word that points to the Ultimate King, Jesus Christ.
We see in many of Paul’s epistles that he regularly prays for the churches he planted in his missionary journeys. These inspired prayers are helpful templates for our own prayer lives. In the opening chapter of Ephesians, we see that the apostle not only gives thanks to the Lord for the Ephesians’ faith and love, but that he prays for their assurance, that they would not doubt or waiver in their understanding that God is at work in Christ in the world, no matter what it looks like from our perspective.
Sometimes we willfully disobey the Lord. We know something is wrong and we do it anyway. Much more often, we simply forget to think of God at all. We live our lives as if he doesn’t exist, and left to our own wisdom we sin grievously against him and one another. Our only hope is to trust in the One who never forgot the will of his Father and who enables us to remember him by his grace.
What do relational conflicts, inward frustration, and worldly distraction have in common? They all result when selfish desires dominate our thinking. In our pride, we want what we want and the results are disastrous. James says the answer is brokenness before the Lord. Only through humble submission and repentance will we be restored through the One who was supremely broken for us, Jesus Christ.