Have you ever been in a situation that felt helpless? You couldn’t do anything to fix the problem. The problem overwhelms your thoughts, your nights and creates a feeling of hopelessness. You not just lose sleep, but sickness knocks at your door. Your immune system begins to fail, causing your body to break down causing more anxiety and hopelessness.
What about those who have seen the horrors of war? There are countless stories of veterans coming home who have difficulty adjusting to a “normal life”. The nightmares haunt them nightly. The visions of those they have killed create a nightmare that cannot be forgotten. No matter how much time goes by, the faces of those killed are forever plastered among the archives of the mind.
We can talk about cancer and the feelings of despair that accumulate in the subconscious. We can speak about the disaster of how famine not only degrades the body but the mind as well. We can imagine the despair one feels as they flee their country, which is overrun by terrorists. We can discuss all of these things, but the question remains, what will keep us going? What will we look towards to bring hopelessness to hopefulness?
Today, I had the honor of watching the movie “Dunkirk”. It is a story of World War II British and French soldiers who faced hopelessness over and over again. Whether they served on land, at sea or in the air, each of these soldiers faced insurmountable odds just to try and get “across the pond” and back into the arms of their loved ones. I will not ruin the story for you, but I will point out there are several scenes which clearly show the hopelessness of those who were in Dunkirk. Hopelessness turned into despair. Despair turned into actions without thought. Those actions then turned into disaster. But how did those who faced this hopelessness survive? They found hope.
A picture of a loved one, a friend who gives a glass of water or even a story of conquering a small territory, each of these can bring our minds from hopelessness to hope. They create in us a feeling that it’ll be alright, even when we may not believe it. We remember that there are those at home, who are praying we come back and even they are anxiously waiting to hear a single word from our mouths.
We too live in days of hopelessness. Political turmoil, discrimination, murder and drug use are our battles which we face daily. If we do not know the horrors of drug abuse, we understand the ills of discrimination. We may not know the disgusting fear murder creates, but we see the turmoil in our nation’s capital. No matter who we are, no matter where we come from, we all face the sense of hopelessness each and every day. So what is the solution to all this hopelessness? How can we overcome this sense that it won’t be alright and discover how it can be alright?
As Christians, we have a message of hope. The problem with our message is not with the message but with us. Today, I was speaking with one who is part of the LGBT community and an older gentleman who hates religion because, in his words, “what’s the point?” Both of these individuals have suffered greatly at the hands of Christians. In fact one of them told me that he can’t believe in God because most Christians aren’t nice and friendly.
Although I tend to disagree with his statement, it led me to consider, am I a friend of sinners? Am I the one who hinders the message of hope or am I the messenger who gladly shares it with all, even if they hate God? In my conversation with the LGBT member, I was able to reassure her that not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is one. In fact, the Scriptures say that the road to salvation is very narrow, so narrow that there is only one way through Jesus Christ. However, in all this, I explained that even Jesus dined with those who were hated by their society. Terrorists, angry people, thieves and one who betrayed Him, were all people who Jesus spent His time with. So if it is good enough for my Savior to spend time with those who are lost, then why do I discriminate and not spend the time I need to with them as well? Because idolatry has entered into the hearts of the Christian community.
Instead of sharing the hope filled Gospel of Jesus Christ, we share our feelings about our society because we believe we have the right to. Instead of sharing the Gospel, we verbalize our distain towards a small percentage of the community who have the ears and voice of our media. Instead of sharing the Gospel, we spend our time thinking of ways to protest instead of invest. We allow our national right to be ahead of our spiritual requirement. So how do we overcome this? How can we change the minds of others about the Gospel? The simple answer is we can’t. Only the Holy Spirit can do this, but this does not mean we should be arrogant about it either.
Our calling is to share the Gospel and disciple those who repent. We are to help those who are helpless. Feed those who are hungry and provide shelter for those who are homeless. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that our political views supersede our spiritual obligations. In fact, when Israel forgot their God, they became corrupt, by allowing the political views of their day to infiltrate their beliefs. Some sacrificed their children. Many intermarried with those who did not believe the same thing. Not because of love but because they forgot their God.
We too have forgotten our God. We have forgotten that our God is holy and we are sinful. We have forgotten that our God created all that we can see and cannot see. We have forgotten that we were once lost and were found by God. We need to remember that it was God who saved us. It was God who freed us. It is God who sustains us. It is God who forgives us, even when we sin knowingly. We need to remember that those who do not know God are lost. Those who don’t know God are living lives of hopelessness. Those who do not know God hate God but have a sense that something is missing.
Jesus said that the world will hate us, but He also said we are to pray for our enemies. Jesus told his disciples that they will be hunted and killed, yet He also told them to feed the hungry, care for the widows and orphans and share this Gospel with everyone who will listen.
Our job as Christians is not to be the political voice of our society but we are to be the arms, hands and legs of Jesus Christ. We are to use what we have, our talents, our resources and our minds to think of new ways we can share the Gospel through action. We need to realize it is not only our actions but our attitude toward those who are lost which is important.
Let me place this into perspective. Those who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior are doomed to eternal life without God. No light. No love. Just fear and hatred. Thoughts of I wish I didn’t reject God will one day flood their minds in the eternal darkness of hell. But Jesus Christ can change that. The Gospel can give hope to those who are hopeless. The Gospel can bring people from death into life. The Gospel can show the light of Christ to a dark world. It is only the Gospel of Jesus Christ which can change lives.
Like the messages given to the soldiers at Dunkirk, we too must share the message of hope. We must pray for those who don’t know Him and ask Him to change their hearts. Our job is to simply share the Gospel. It is God’s job to change the hearts. Even when they hate us, they don’t hate us because of what we have done, but because of what He did.
Our Savior lives! Our Savior lives! No one else can give that message. Not Hinduism, not Shintoism, not Muslim, not atheism. Only Jesus Christ lives! Only Jesus Christ saves! Only Jesus Christ can give this world of hopelessness a light which can outshine anything and bring hope to those who are lost. Instead of voicing our distain, let’s voice the message of our Savior.
God bless and encourage someone today.