By Karen Swank
It’s not news today to report that the world is getting harder and harsher. Anyone who’s been around long can mark the downward march of time and attitudes, remembering a day when people trusted more– when people were more trustworthy. Ours is rapidly becoming a culture of distrust and hopelessness.
The world is the world is the world, and it’s gonna keep on doing what the world does: breaking itself to pieces while it celebrates its own grandiose misguided advancement. What disturbs me the most these days is how much churchgoers and those who follow Christ are buying into it all.
Dare to hope, and you will be marked as a fool by many. Some will wrap it in religion, saying you are buying into new age, positive thinking baloney, somehow missing the truth that positive thinking is nothing more than a poor imitation of the faith we are called to in scripture.
Dare to hope, and you will make people uncomfortable or even angry. Insist on speaking the truth that we are blessed and not cursed. Refuse to complain and choose instead to trust God most of all when life is going to hell in a hand basket. Then complainers will roll their eyes, turn their backs, and continue on repeating the fact that they are cursed.
Dare to hope, and you will be called naive. Reach out to someone people love to hate. Pray for someone forgotten and trampled over. Minister to someone stuck in their own impossible muck, and believe that God will finish the work He started in that heart. People will aggressively push you to lower the bar of your expectations and will remind you persistently why they are not worth it; do it anyway.
Dare to hope, and you will be deemed unrealistic. When God allows good things to happen in the lives of those who are in the midst of falling down hard, celebrate with them. Refuse to measure whether they deserve the blessing, whether they will treasure it appropriately, or whether they will just blow it anyway. Celebrate, be glad, believe that they will stand up and allow their lives to be redeemed. There will be no lack of people, even people who love and serve Jesus passionately, who will feel they are being wise as they withhold hope and refuse to celebrate.
The world is woefully lacking in people brave enough to hope today. Hope is perhaps the ultimate act of aggression against darkness. It is all-out, front-line warfare against an enemy who prowls to and fro about the earth, seeking whom he might devour. Why do so many willingly lay down in front of that enemy and surrender without a fight?
Hope looks foolish, naive, and unrealistic, and indeed it would be exactly that, if our hope was in ourselves and in our own ability to fix it all. But Christian hope is not about us. It is about Christ. Real Christian hope is an accurate measure of the love, the power, the majesty, the grace, and the mercy of Him who spoke the world into existence and then willingly, joyfully came here as one of us and paid the ransom to bring us out of that small, dim world and home to Him.
If He can bring us eternal life beyond this world then He is certainly more than enough to bring us abundant life while we are still here. Dare to hope. Spread hope and let it be contagious. Hope for yourself, hope for your enemy, hope for your neighbor. Hope for the thug on the corner and hope for the one who’s blown a thousand chances. Hope for the one with the ominous medical report. Hope beyond bank account balances.
Dare to hope. Speak life and not death, blessings and not curses. Do it today and see what God can do.
I dare you.
If you liked this article, check out: Against All Hope: Happily ever after
Karen is from Aledo, IL. She went to Monmouth College and studied Latin and English. She is a biological mom of two children and surrogate mom/friend/advocate for a whole host of children. She would like to meet every wounded soul that I’ve she’s ever known… as a child, before the “damage was done” so she could tell them how much they are loved.