There’s a lot going on in the world, but I find that I’m not watching the news as much as I used to. I still keep myself informed, but I don’t sit in front of the television for long periods of time or read the newspaper from cover to cover like I once did. I find that the older I get, the less I want to be bombarded by gloom and doom. Instead, I’m drawn more and more to people and things that inspire hope.
Apparently, I’m not alone.
In 1984, Ronald Reagan built his presidential campaign around the theme, “Morning in America.” You’ll recall that he won the election in a landslide. On the other hand, John Kerry tried to win the presidency in 2004 by going around the country talking about the “misery index.” He lost, even though his opponent, George W. Bush, was not riding a wave of popularity.
Most people don’t want to hear about misery. They’re far too familiar with it already. Instead, they want someone to give them hope. They want to believe that things can be better.
Our calling as Christians is to fill that need. Not to be constantly condemning and scolding, but to let people know that God offers us “a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
What’s the best way for us to do this? I think the answer is in Romans 15:13. Paul said, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
As one who has stood behind a pulpit almost every Sunday since 1975, I am obviously not opposed to the verbal communication to God’s truth. But when it comes to communicating hope, discouraged people need to see it as much as they need to hear about it. They need to see me filled with joy and peace. They need to see confident hope “overflowing” in my life. Then–and only then–will they believe that I really have it, and that maybe they can have it, too.
We all need to ask ourselves what’s overflowing out of us. Something is, you can be sure. And that something is sending a powerful message, for better or worse.
For further reflection read Psalm 39:6-7, 146:5, 1 Peter 3:15.