Maintaining Hope in an Age of Trump & Kim Jong Un (or exiled on Patmos…)

Maintaining Hope in an Age of Trump & Kim Jong Un

by Jim Buchan (Featured Blogger on Discipleship.Network) 

Twice before, I set out to write this blog.

The first time was a month ago, when it was first announced that President Trump had agreed to meet with the North Korean dictator. I whimsically thought about suggesting to Trump that he challenge Kim Jong Un to a Twitter War – because I wasn’t sure North Korea even had access to Twitter yet. It would have been an easy victory for the American side.

The second opportunity for this blog came just over a week ago. Hope Hicks, a longtime friend and advisor to the Trump family, resigned and left her position as White House communications director. This presented me with some great possibilities for provocative blog headlines:

WHITE HOUSE NO LONGER HAS HOPE

or

TRUMP LOSES HOPE

Yet the reality is that President Trump doesn’t seem to have lost hope at all. He’s as optimistic as ever, touting great improvements in both the economy and the country’s military readiness. He says the unemployment rate has never been lower for Blacks and Hispanics, something everyone should be cheering about.

Does the country share the President’s rosy outlook? Some people do and some clearly don’t.

I have friends who love Donald Trump. I have friends who hate Donald Trump.
In an effort to maintain my friendships, I would rather not say much about the President in a blog post, which inevitably would make some people mad.

It would certainly be less risky to write a blog about how bad Kim Jong Un is. The only person who seems to like him is former NBA star Dennis Rodman. But it probably would be pointless to spend time reminding people of the evils of Kim Jong Un and his nuclear program, wouldn’t it?

So I’ve decided that, instead of talking about President Trump directly, for comparison purposes I’ll start by mentioning a few of the issues I’ve had with the past four Presidents (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama):
 Insane, never-ending deficit spending (except for a very brief period under Bill Clinton)
 Unnecessary, unwise, and poorly executed military involvement in foreign conflicts
 Failure to properly secure our southern border or even come up with a workable long-
term immigration policy
 Unconstitutional executive orders
 A federal bureaucracy that’s out of control
 A nonsensical, overly complex tax code

 A sexual scandal that degraded the moral standing of the Presidency (in the case of Bill
Clinton)

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news lately, you’ll have to admit that many of these issues are ongoing with the nation’s current leadership, and in some cases are worse than ever.

As of today, we’re not even close to “draining the swamp” in Washington.

So how are Bible-believing Christians supposed to maintain hope, when national leaders have so often let us down?

Perhaps you’ve seen the recent movie, “Paul, Apostle of Christ.” Although several of my
friends wrote sterling reviews about the film, I didn’t like it. In fact, I found it so slow-moving that I fell asleep a couple of times. I’ll never understand how movie producers could take an exciting life like Paul’s and create a boring movie.

However, the movie did indeed illustrate a few important points about maintaining hope. Its backdrop was the reign of Nero Caesar, a deranged and brutal Roman emperor. He was feeding Christians to the lions and using them as torches to light up the city at night. There were no signs of things getting any better, and some church members thought it best to flee.

How are believers supposed to maintain hope during such times? Actually, that question is a common theme throughout the Bible. God’s people sometimes lived in Egypt as Pharaoh’s slaves or in Babylon during King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. At other times, they had their own nation, but were ruled by brutal, idolatrous kings.

Whether times were good or times were bad, God never told His people to place their hope in the human leaders who ruled their nation. Instead, they were given glimpses into the heavenly realm, where the Lord Himself was still ruling the universe:
 In the year King Uzziah died, Isaiah “saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up,
and the train of His robe filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1-10). Uzziah was gone, but the
Lord was alive and well.
 When the Babylonians destroyed his beloved city of Jerusalem, Jeremiah realized that the only place he could put his hope was in God’s great faithfulness. “Therefore I hope in
Him!” the prophet concluded (Lamentations 3:21-24).
 Exiled on the Island of Patmos, the apostle John saw a discouraging glimpse into the
condition of the churches and an alarming vision of future world events. Yet his
perspective changed when God spoke to him from heaven and said, “Come up here.”
Instead of focusing on flawed human leadership in the church or the world, from his new
vantage point John saw “a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne” (Revelation
4:1-2).

If you are depending on President Trump or any other human leader to drain the swamp, I
encourage you to set your sights much higher – to the One sitting on the throne of heaven. Only the Lord can heal our land, and He’s already provided us with specific requirements for how that can happen (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Ironically, the same principle holds true whether you are overly relying upon President Trump or whether you are terrified by what leaders like Trump, Putin, or Kim might do. Psalm 2 describes a scene where the world is in turmoil and its leaders are plotting evil. Amid the chaos, God interjects, “I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion” (v. 6).
Isn’t that good to know?

Regardless of what you may think of today’s world leaders – whether positive or negative – never forget that a King has been permanently installed in heaven. Yes, “Hope” may have left the White House, but hope should never leave the hearts of the people of God.
No matter what kind of leaders your country has at any point in time, you’ve been given a clear mandate to pray for them:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for
all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives
in all godliness and holiness.   This is good, and pleases God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:1-3
NIV).

If you’re faithful to do your part and pray, you can be confident that God will faithfully do His part too!

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