“We walk by faith not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) is a Christian maxim that is more and more top of mind these days. At the very least, the saying means we don’t know or understand all that’s going on right now in our current circumstances, especially circumstances which involve the pains and troubles of this present world, but we have confidence in the God who has redeemed us through Jesus Christ, and we know that he will one day fully and completely triumph.
That’s one of the definitions of hope, that we are confident in the future outcome of peace that God has for his people in this troubled world and that, therefore, we can with patience wait eagerly for his final victory (see Romans 8:23-25).
So, what does all that have to do with how we approach the school year?
It means that, as always, we don’t know exactly what will happen day to day, but we also know that we are not victims of chance and circumstance set adrift in an ocean of doom.
Remember who rules all.
There’s not a square inch of reality – in the visible creation or the invisible creation, in time or in social and human events, political, economic, or otherwise – that is outside the kingly rule and governance of God. He is not the cause of evil, and though he has permitted evil to have its temporary victories and provisional frustrations of his will, he is nonetheless Lord over the world. And we have the opportunity, under him, to be his agents and coworkers.
Trust him and stand with courage.
So, all of us have to approach the school year with trust in the Creator God who is not distant, with hope in the Lord God who will one day raise the dead and transform the world, and with moral courage, to stand faithfully and boldly in the face of cultural and spiritual forces that push against the truth, the will of God in our world. We must continue to pray, “O Lord God, our Father, we want your name to be honored and your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9-10).
We must accept with faith and courage the rapidly changing nature of the circumstances all around us, political, cultural, moral, and health related, and not lose faith.
Live by his Spirit.
We must realize that we are living between the times, between the coming of Christ and his past victory over death, on the one hand, and his return finally to complete that work of transformation on the other. We must live here and now as a people who are empowered by his Spirit to do his work in the world and are prepared to live with discipline, faith, and courage.
It means that we are like the aliens and sojourners of this world who do our work always “as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23-24), however trivial or menial it may seem.
This new school year offers us these opportunities to see our faith grow in a world where there is little that seems routine anymore. Nonetheless, we must live by the habits and disciplines of faith to develop the strength to bear witness to the kingship of God through Christ in all that we do. The new year is coming, but a “new year” has already come with the death and resurrection of Christ, so now we live as a people who participate in that new creation, while still living in the old.
With a hope that looks forward, we press on.
Blog edited by Joannah Buffington