Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18, ESV)
The word “prophet” conjurs visions of patriarchs of yore who spoke as inspired by God about future events. But a prophet is also, simply, one who “speaks God’s truth to others. The English word prophet comes from the Greek word prophetes, which can mean ‘one who speaks forth’ or ‘advocate’.” (source).
For the purpose of this post, I am conflating the two definitions to mean anyone, in this case me (an ordinary person), who advocates for future events–as foretold by the other kind of prophets.
A “Pollyanna” is a type of “excessively or blindly optimistic person” (source).
Prophet versus Pollyanna
What prompts this comparison is that nonbelievers might well look at believers as the excessivily and blindly-optimistic type of Pollyannas (see below for another type) when we insist there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as they say, an idiom that captures the hope we can still have in God despite all the markers of global catastrophe.
And the markers are formidable.
We have this hope because although it seems we live in an era of mostly the down-side of prophecy (and of biblical proportions, here is one view), the book ends well for all who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
It’s not that many of us do not realize the world seems, in some respects, to be quicksanding into a moral and civil abyss prompted by the growing list of fill-in-the-blank “Armageddons” (climate-mageddon, politics-mageddon, social-mageddon, and so on), we recognize God’s prophetic pattern is dependable, pattern being the key word.
If you think about it, God set a kind of Divine metapattern from the start (and the start-up) of the material universe. It goes thus: first comes thought, then word, then deed. Of course that implies a time factor and where God exists there is only eternity. But this explanation may help comprehension for us time-bound humans here on terra firma.
His prophets followed suit, but I’d put it like this: first came inspiration (from the Holy Spirit–NOTE: inspiration that aligns with God’s Word and ways*), then declaration, then manifestation, sometimes now sometimes later.
For just one of many prophecies foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New–and continuing– consider this list of all of the prophecies Jesus Christ fulfilled during His first coming to earth. According to this source, there are some 353.
There are more prophecy fulfillments ahead pertaining to Jesus’ second coming, as well. Here is an example discussion of that period of time known as “the millenial reign” of Jesus.
So in the middle of all of the current prophetic bad news (some of it arguably at stage three), there are, ahead, a thousand years of good news with an even better follow-up heading into eternal glory for those choosing to follow Jesus Christ.
There is, of course, another choice people can make, and another prophetic trajectory.
Prophet and Pollyanna
Thus, while, to the world, believers with an ear to hear prophecy (and who have read the last chapter of the Book) may seem a little glib, too hopeful, or downright Pollyanna-ish, to the brethren there is real hope for the future if we focus above and resist being trapped and discouraged by the fear and fury below.
Here are some reminders–and encouragements–from the Original Source of good news and the Good News:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
In the meantime, no matter how serious and scary it may get down here in the sinkhole, we also have these reminders:
But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:28)
You might say that because of the prophets, we can be that other type of Pollyanna–not the excessively, optimistically-blind type, rather, the hope-filled, heaven-bound type inspired by Him, Who, through His prophets (both kinds), has prompted, proclaimed and performed the events that reveal His great and over-arching love for us, the love that set the whole spiritual and temporal drama in motion and will bring it to conclusion.
And by which, no matter what comes, hope still shines bright, strong, and into eternity for all those who choose to put their trust and faith in Him**.
Choose well, look up, and carry on.
The reader may also wish to read more posts of end times inspiration, encouragement, and survival, listed here.