Dear church,

In the middle of the mud and the muck – and asteroids – of tribulation, a person still can find something glorious. Hope.

The seventh seal opened to a half hour of silence. Time and silence are present during the Apocalypse. Perhaps God finds significance in both of these things.

But time and silence are not alone in this era of trouble. They are joined with prayer. “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.”

We might ask about the value of prayer. What is the point of praying? Well, God hears our prayers. We see that right here. Isn’t that enough? If we need another argument, we might remember Jesus prayed. If Jesus felt the value of prayer and communion, so should we.

And Revelation gives us a picture of our prayers rising like incense or smoke to God. He hears his people’s prayers, even during the Apocalypse.

The first four trumpets brought massive destruction to the earth – the land, sea, water sources, and heavens. And then John saw an eagle flying directly overhead, crying, “Woe, woe, woe.”

It’s all pretty gloomy. But why announce “woe,” if there is no hope of salvation? I take this to mean there is hope for those left on the earth – like when Jesus began his ministry with a very short sermon, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Sometimes we feel like things are hope-“less.” We think there is no hope at all, that our situation cannot be improved, that another person will never see the light, that the slow decline we see cannot be reversed. Revelation 8 is a dark chapter in the Bible. But like all dark chapters in the Bible, it is tinged with hope. Our God abounds in steadfast love. He is full of mercy. He is patient with us.

The crying eagle was offering a bit of hope to the world. The “woes” were coming, so repent. And in heaven, God was hearing the prayers of his people.

Is there something in your life that you’ve given up on? Is there some struggle you have (with sin or circumstances) that you have come to believe is hopeless?

Start with prayer and repentance. See what God will do.

Chris

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