Following Christ can be a lonely experience from time to time. But we can keep walking with Hope.
This series is going to look at the idea of being a Pariah because of our faith. There are plenty of times when our choice to submit to the will of God will differentiate us from the world around us. While we may know intellectually that this is a good thing, it does not make it easy at the time.
Truth be told, I planned this series to be released last month. But as I got closer to getting it started, something felt off. I was about to explore the times when our faith would leave us feeling alone. Yet, we were going to look at it going in completely without context. The important context could not be found that would guide person through these seasons.
The question came to my mind, “why go through this?” Why put ourselves through these emotionally painful times. Truth be told, I’m not sure I was asking this to be a better teacher or just asking it out of internal anguish. But the answer was clear. Hope. Every bit of pain, suffering, and feel like a pariah could all be traced back to hope.
I have to believe that there is hope. I have to believe that through all the struggle, through all the pain, and through all the hurt that there is more to creation and the universe than my little section. For however lonely I may feel, I have to have hope, fueled by the faith I have in Jesus Christ that His love will run into eternity and one day I will see him face to face.
So, the series on hope was born, even though we had done a series on hope previously in February. 2017 will just be the year of hope. But now we look forward to what it means to truly walk through the narrow gates when the wider gates would be much easier to walk (Matthew 7:13-14, NIV).
If you haven’t done so, go back and read the Series on Hope. Grab a few friends, go get coffee, and work through the questions together, and when you are ready, return to this series.
Hope sustains us during the times we feel like a Pariah. For all the effort that churches put into branding, messaging, and all the other accoutrements, 1 Corinthians 13 makes it abundantly clear that only three things remain; faith, hope, and love. There are the foundation of our salvation and of the Gospel.