Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
It’s pretty easy to feel small.
The world is a big place, but there are things that are bigger—pain, suffering, loss. And there’s certainly been a lot of that lately. I have a news app on my phone that alerts me of all that’s going on in the world, and it feels as though every time I look at it, there’s another horrible event—the Manchester bombing, the attack on London. It feels like the world is in a constant state of war.
We can feel helpless when we see all the pain and violence in the world. It’s an unfortunate, hard reality—we don’t want suffering to exist, but it does. We don’t want death to exist, but it does. In a sin-ridden, war-filled world, it feels like there’s not a whole lot we can do, and that hurts. A lot.
But there are passages in the Bible that are surprisingly hopeful. One of these is in Zechariah 9—it’s positive, victorious, promising. Phrases like, “He will proclaim peace to the nations,” “I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit,” “I will restore twice as much to you,” and “Your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey,” make it seem like we can conquer everything through Him.
But bad things still happen. Suffering happens. War happens. Death happens. So how can we “rejoice greatly” and “shout” with joy when we see people wounded and mutilated, physically and emotionally, by others seemingly bent on destruction?
I can’t offer a definitive answer to that. Nobody can. And it’s hard—really hard—to realize that, sometimes, there’s nothing we can do. The world is broken, people are broken, and sin resides. It’s a fact. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s heart-breaking.
But there is hope. Because in a world that’s ridden with war, fear, and despair, God is bigger. God is greater. He is more powerful than any suffering or enemy. It may not seem like it at times—often, when we are “at war” against sin, death, and Satan, he feels absent. But he’s not. He’s with us, working in our hearts, serving as our guide and comfort in times of trouble. He is our hope. He is our fortress when things seem bleak.
Zechariah says, “I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth” (v. 10). Ultimately, God will win the war against sin, death, and the devil. He rules over all, and the Lord will bring his people to him.
“As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you” (v. 10-12).
So, take refuge, Christian. Have hope. For our God is greater, our God is stronger, and our God rules over all. He cannot be broken, He cannot be defeated. In times of trouble and in times of peace, He is there, working to bring his people to him. Whom have we to fear?
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