November 30, 2020
Hoping or Knowing ?
Elijah put his face between his knees
and prayed persistently for a
drought-busting rain (1 Kings 18:41-45),
he did not merely hope God would answer.
He knew it! Why?
had spoken. When ordering him to
confront Ahab on Carmel, God promised
His prophet, "And I will send rain" (1
Kings 18:1). So Elijah prayed with the
perfect assurance God would answer
because God had spoken and God's Word
cannot fail. Or, in Jesus' words, "The
Scriptures must be fulfilled" (Mark
Christian, what are you hoping for in
these uncertain times and what are you
confident of? The answer surely lies in
not your aspirations but God's
declarations. If you wish, it may be; if
He speaks, it must be. Why? The
unchanging character, unrelenting will,
and unstoppable power of God stand
behind every divine utterance. Thus,
again, Jesus said, "The Scripture cannot
be broken" (John 10:35).
So, friend, there are some things I hope
for, others I know. Let me illustrate.
America will become a land of
righteousness again. But I know the
true, remnant church worldwide will walk
in Christ's righteousness. I hope this
nation will honor and believe God's Word
again. But I'm sure true believers
everywhere will do so.
I hope American citizens will one day
love each other even when we disagree
over politics. But I know humble,
surrendered Christians will increasingly
"love one another, as I have loved you"
in these last days, as Jesus commanded
I hope America will be deeply healed and
again embody its motto E pluribus
unum, or "out of many, one." But I
know Christ's true body of believers
will be unified before He returns,
because God's Word reveals He prayed we
may become "one...perfect in one" (John
I hope America's political leaders will,
again, one day be honest and intent on
serving the nation's needs instead of
pushing its psychological buttons to
serve their personal lusts for power,
wealth, and fame. But I know in the
church there are consecrated leaders who
selflessly and faithfully "feed my
sheep" even if they're not very well
loved or fed themselves.
I hope rebellion and anarchy flee from
our nation and respect for the rule of
law returns. But I know there's a
kingdom coming where the King of kings
will rule and all will love and respect
His every Word as their law.
I hope our nation's economy rebounds so
all may be employed and have every need
amply provided. But I know God will
employ Christian disciples in His
economy of testing in the coming days
and let us "work out our own salvation"
by humble trust and obedience until we
grow rich in proven faith and a
pricelessly close, deep, and full
knowledge of Jesus.
I hope a great cultural reform breaks
out in which Americans renounce atheism,
immorality, and abortion and return to
our traditional Judeo-Christian
standards of goodness and decency. But I
know the body of born-again believers
will in these last days hear a cry,
"Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye
out to meet him," and all true
believers, "wise and foolish" will
suddenly and wholly return to godly
living (Matthew 25:6-7).
I hope this nation becomes a land where
the Spirit of God is pervasive, maturity
of character is prevalent, and purity is
found everywhere, as many of our
founding fathers envisioned. But I know
the true church of Jesus Christ will,
before He comes, become the living
embodiment of Paul's three inspired
visions of the church: a Spirit-indwelt
temple (Ephesians 2:19-22); a body of
believers mature in faith and knowledge
of God (Ephesians 4:11-16); and a holy
bride purified through extensive
teaching and testing (Ephesians
Summing up, I hope the nation will get
its act together. But I know the true
church will. Why? It is written! And
shouldn't we apply this same simple
logic to our personal prayers?
As stated above, Elijah knew
what he was praying about. But what
about you and me? Do you know
what you are praying and believing God
for today? Or are you just hoping?