It Takes Courage to be Hopeful

Life has felt heavy lately, hasn't it? It seems like everyday the headlines are pressing another hardship, more separation or sadness. Hate seems to be spreading like wildfire. Our country and our world are hurting. People are dying; they're being killed. The media is eating up anything and anyone that seems weak or vulnerable. Love seems to be foreign, grace seems to be absent. 

People keep asking about God, wondering where He is in all of this. I saw someone deem our country "godless" and proved their point with a tweet-- as if 140 characters are enough to prove that God has abandoned us. Looking around, reading headlines, listening to conversations and realizing what words are sensitive to bring up, it's all hard. It seems that hope has lost it's place, it seems that we have all become accustomed to hopelessness.

But here's the thing: that has to stop. 

I am a follower of Christ. I believe, wholeheartedly, in this God that so many think has abandoned us. And I believe that despite all of this, despite the headlines and the injustice and the hatred, He is still good. He is still winning. He is faithful. He is in control.

He is not in the business of hopelessness. He is in the business is shining His light, His love, His hope, Himself, in all the dark places. And as His kids, we have to start living like we believe Him. It our responsibility to show Him to the world by displaying the hope and faith that our country lacks.

I'm just going to be honest here, friends, I don't see too much of that happening. 

It's scary to be hopeful when everything seems hopeless. I understand that it's hard. I am no stranger to the silence that the darkness seems to call for. It's not easy to be the one person that says, "God is in control" when hundreds of lives have been lost and we don't know what kind of person is going to be president. It's scary, it may be cliche, but it's what we need to do because He is in control.

It takes courage to be hopeful, but we have a God that will always make us brave. Being hopeful isn't the cool thing, but it is the needed thing. It's too easy to be quiet about all of this, which is what so many of us have been doing. We have a God who is the Light of the World, all that is good comes from Him. And it's important to remember that He weeps with us over all that is not good. He is not sitting in Heaven on a big throne watching all of this like a crime show. He hurts with us. He wants justice with us. He wants reconciliation with us. And He gives us that hope. 

I know that the world is heavy. I know that hope is a foreign concept right now, but it has its place in this chaos. As Christians, it is not our role to paint on a soft smile and tell everyone that "It'll be alright" and pat their backs and make some cookies. It's not our job to remain immune to the sadness nor is it our job to relish in it. It is not our duty to decide and declare whose side God would be on (hint: He loves everyone). We cannot give into the darkness--this same darkness that has been trying to prevail since the beginning--and hate and cause more separation or racism or murders or injustice.

We have to love. We have to love because He loves. We have to love who He loves, too. He loves the black people and the police officers and the presidential candidates and the members of ISIS and the Orlando shooter everyone else that's making headlines. He hates their sin, He has cried over what they've done and what's been done to them, but He loves them just as much as He loves you and me. 

We have to hurt with our brothers and sisters. We have to cry and ask God questions and be there for the hurt and the healing. We have to admit that we are confused, but we trust Him. We have to ask our Father to help us sympathize and keep us from acting like we can empathize just because it sounds better. But we have to do these things with hope in our hearts and His name on our lips. We have to be willing to say His name when people talk about their fear. We have to enter into the tragedy and remind people, sincerely, of the One who loves us all. We have to let our real life faith speak louder than our passive Facebook posts or angry Tweets. We have to be the ones to show the world that hope is still winning. We have to remind people that when Jesus said, "It is finished" He was talking about all of this, too. 

The truth is that Jesus has already won. There is bad in the world, but there will always be good, too. There will always be mountains and sunshine and laughing babies and chocolate and books. There will always be heavy news headlines, too, but we don't have to allow them to shape the way we see the world today. We have to be hopeful, friends. We have to have the courage to bet on hope. We have to have faith, to lead by example in our confidence that God is who He says He is. He is faithful and present and kind. He is love.

The world feels heavy, but our God is still good, and it's our job to embrace that for the powerful truth that it is.

We have to stay hopeful.

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5: 3-5

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
 
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that
Jesus is the Son of God?

1 John 5: 4-5

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for
he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23