Articles

Our Ancient Hope: A Devotional with Jim Daly

09/10/20

John Stonestreet

As the world reels from the events of the past few months and looks anxiously towards whatever this autumn will bring, the Colson Center is sponsoring a weekly moment of prayer. Each Wednesday, a guest will share in leading us in a time of devotion and corporate prayer.

This week our guest was Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family. As part of his devotional time, he shared some ancient hope for our troubled times.

Below is an edited excerpt, or you can view his entire presentation.

Here is Jim Daly:

We’ve heard a lot about the family lately. When the Portland riots broke out and some of the other unrest, I remember watching it on the news at my house. I turned to my wife, and I said, “You know what? The headwaters of all of this is the breakdown of the family when you look at it.”

Let me paint that picture for you in terms of what’s taking place in the culture right now. We have been trying to stay close to the data. Some of you probably already know this, but they’re anticipating coming out of the COVID shelter-in place-situation that divorce rates are going to click up about 34 percent.

We just saw that CDC report days ago, stating that 25.5 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 have had serious suicidal thoughts in the last six months. For perspective, there are 30 million people, 18 to 29. So that’s seven and a half million people have had serious suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts in the last six months.

What this points out is that we’re in turmoil.

The reality is for us as Christians is that when it gets rough like this, it’s time to show confidence in what we believe. That’s what I want to talk about for a couple of minutes today. In fact, I could bring you right into my living room just a few days ago.

One of the great pleasures I have is being able to read the Word with my sons and to explore it. Even at their ages of 20 and 18, they still have an interest. I’m grateful to the Lord that they want to read the Word.

We were going through Proverbs 1 on the first of the month, and I just started looking at this in the context of what we’re facing in our country. Right there in verse eight, “Hear my son, your father’s instruction and forsake not your mother’s teaching.”

For those that think the nuclear family is really a European construct, they’re just missing the point. I think it was Jesus himself in Matthew who said, “A man shall leave his mother and father and cling to his wife. And the two shall become one flesh.” Now I don’t dismiss the fact that it does take a community to help raise children.

I remember an African American gentleman I met from Baltimore, older guy, he must’ve been in his 80s and he said, “The difference in my community is that used to be that old men sat on the porch, and when somebody got out of line, they would shout at them from the porch and tell them to get back into place.” He said, “Now the problem in my community, my neighborhoods is that there’s no more old men sitting on the porch.” Isn’t that the truth?

In Proverbs 8, it goes on to say in verse 11, “If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood. Let us ambush the innocent without reason.'” And then verse 13, “‘We shall find all precious goods. We shall fill our houses with plunder. Throw in your lot among us. We will all have one purse.’ My son, do not walk in the way with them.”

It goes on in 16, “For their feet run to evil and they make haste to shed blood. For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird. But these men lie in wait for their own blood. They set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain. It takes away the life of the possessors.”

These words of course are written 2,700 years ago, but how appropriate they are today? Proverbs 1 goes on to say right at the end, “For the simple are killed by their turning away and the complacency of fools destroy them. But whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease without dread of disaster.” I think that’s the optimism that I have, is that for the Christian, there is no disaster. There’s no dread of disaster for us.

We know what is ahead and we should have that confidence.

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