Paul told us to “walk by faith, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7), but this does not mean we should refuse to “see” those things which should encourage our faith. Jesus performed miracles so people could see and experience His restorative work but He criticized those who only came for these “signs.”
Pessimism has no place in the Christian walk because with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26) as we overcome because He is greater than all our enemies (I Jn. 4:4). Yet, I frequently hear very pessimistic views, even disbelief that the Kingdom of God ill triumph. “Just look around,” people say.
Yet, what do we see each Christmas? The world must stop and recognize the impact of Jesus Christ on history. In the first century, as the eleven apostles left the scene of the ascension to go into the Gentile nations, the logical questions would have been, frankly, “What does a dead Jew mean to me?”; “If He is dead, what good is He to me?”; “If the Jews did not want Him, why should we?”
The presentation of the gospel of the Kingdom was far more difficult then. It involved an educational element that had to cut through people’s religion and philosophic suppositions.
The resistance to Christianity is far different today: it comes as self-conscious repudiation of the meaning and impact of the gospel. Christianity is a known commodity, so the push-back is not from ignorance, but from contempt. Christianity is opposed because the world of unbelief knows it is the antithesis to all other worldviews.
As the post-Enlightenment world implodes around us, we can see the growth of Christian faith—the fastest growing religion in the world. There are more Christians alive today than ever before. Christianity itself needs another reformation, but its strength and resiliency in something we can “see” and so be encouraged. We can see that “of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end…The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Is. 9:7).