Posted: 10/20/17 at 9:10am. Column by Ed Jordan.
One of the most wonderful times of our lives was when we lived and worked in Hungary as missionaries. It was not an easy time, since we did not speak Hungarian—one of the hardest languages in the world to learn. But our time there enriched us in so many ways, and we developed wonderful life-long friends.
I have been blessed also with a wonderful education, including a B.A. from UNR, and Masters and Doctorate graduate degrees.
Having successfully served in some very difficult ministry settings, I have gained decades of life and ministry experience, which has given me a depth of life experience beyond what most people have.
All of these pluses in life have not led to financial wealth, nor to pastoring huge churches. Our whole lives we have lived from paycheck to paycheck, and we rarely can go anywhere for vacation because vacations are expensive.
Sometimes such a life gets discouraging, as one lives a stress-filled life of working six days a week. Being human, I have some pretty straightforward dialogues with God about why the situation never changes. One hopes that someday life will change, and the American dream will change our lives.
But that portion of the American dream—that if you work hard you will certainly reap the financial benefits—is not a Christian teaching. It often proves to be true but is not the plumb line of success.
I know that I am not alone in these scenarios. Most of us live from paycheck to paycheck, and we find retirement approaching and realizing that quality of life and availability of funds will be decreasing, not increasing. So how do we cope with such a reality? How do we go forward into a future that does not look very hopeful?
One of the keys is to make sure that we get our future built upon the right kind of hope. Who or what provides our livelihood and future? Is our hope in the money we have in the bank? Is it having a paid-in-full house so that we don’t have to pay rent, and thus a meager income can provide utilities and other life expenses? Is our hope in material possessions, or is it in God?
If our future depends solely upon temporal things, then our hope will be uncertain. However, there is an alternative, and that alternative is to place our hope in God.
God has shown that he can do what humans can’t and override otherwise natural impossibilities. Jesus fed thousands of people with a little boy’s lunch. It was an impossible scenario from a human point of view, but for God it was an easy fix. How trustworthy is the thing in which you place your hope? God is faithful.
The message in Psalm 18:24-28 (NLT) reveals some of the benefits of placing our trust and hope in God: “The Lord rewarded me for doing right. He has seen my innocence. To the faithful You show Yourself faithful; to those with integrity You show integrity. To the pure You show yourself pure, but to the crooked You show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but You humiliate the proud. You light a lamp for me. ‘The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.’”
God is faithful to those who are faithful. God’s faithfulness gives us hope. God will take care of us as we serve him. God is eternal, so he is faithful today, and he will be faithful tomorrow.
We don’t know what the future will bring, but we know that God is in the future with us. God can do what we cannot accomplish, like feeding us with what seems like way too few resources. Jesus taught us to pray asking God for today’s resources—our daily bread. Will it be enough for tomorrow? We don’t even know if we will be alive tomorrow. Trust God. Make God the whole basis for your life. God is faithful to the faithful!