JILCW’S 43rd Anniversary Theme:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Our world is worn out and worn down. Over a year has passed and still, the pandemic’s end seems far from sight. We see an increasing number of cases, of people being admitted to hospitals, and of new COVID-19 variants. All the while, lives are perishing, healthcare systems are collapsing, and economies are dwindling. As a result, many are on edge—worried, restless, anxious… while others are on the edge—of giving up, of backing down, of losing hope.

The church, too, is affected. Services are still restricted and in some, prohibited. Where allowed, we gather with face masks on, without seeing each other’s smiles, without the shaking of hands, and without altar calls and laying on of hands. Where prohibited, we gather online, contenting ourselves with adjusted programs and virtual interactions.

Amidst all these, hard pressed though we may be, we are not crushed. After a year of fixing our eyes on our blessed hope—that is, the blessed hope of Christ’s return and the resultant joy of eternal communion with Him—we now exercise triumphant hope in the here and now.

We triumph in the hope that all our troubles and hardships will end. With us is the God who spoke the whole universe into being, for us is the God who stilled storms and healed multitudes, and in us is the God who Himself resurrected from the dead. We are certain. All our troubles and hardships will end.

But we are not just hoping for triumph to come. We are hoping with triumph. Ours is an active hope: not idle, but persisting, striving, fighting. We do not allow the troubles of life to bog us down and pull us under. Instead, we hold on, press on, soldier on—knowing that as we are being stretched, we are being strengthened… as we are being tested, we are being refined.

As we hope for triumph and wait with triumph, we also hope for other people’s triumph.

Having received, we now share and trumpet the same hope… to the sick, the needy, the weary, the burdened, the broken, and the lost. We evangelize and saturate our community, our workplace, and the different pillars of society. We minister, we serve, we reach out. We occupy until Jesus returns.

We hope for triumph, we hope with triumph, and we hope for others’ triumph. This is what it means to have God’s triumphant hope.