As the New Year begins, a Christian can find great comfort and encouragement by reflecting upon what God has done in their life during the previous year. And while one can find peace while tracing the hand of God in their circumstances, hope for the future can also be found by looking at the history and triumph of God’s Church in this world.
One of the best loved passages of Scripture is Hebrews, chapter 11, which is also referred to as the chapter of the “Heroes of the Faith.” One can find hope in the stories of others who faced persecution, adversity and severe trials for their faith, but who remained steadfast and did not waver in their faith. Here is an excerpt from the King James Bible, beginning at verse 32:
32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Fox’s Book of Martyrs is also a record of faithful heroes who faced great persecution, yet overcame even onto death through their faith in Christ. Another classic book to encourage the Christian is Pilgrim’s Progress by the Puritan author John Bunyan. Or perhaps the stories of the Scottish Covenanters as told in the books Fair Sunshine by Jock Purves and The Scots Worthies by John Howie will stir your soul to strive for a closer walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and a greater knowledge of those who have gone before you.
One can truly rejoice in the midst of trials and uncertain times by looking to the past and the stories of those who have gone before us. Why not make a resolution to renew your hope by reading the Bible and classic Christian books in 2012? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from finding your hope for the future in “His Story.”