Hope In God In A Hurting World

Featuring Branon Dempsey Posted on April 2, 2008

Today, I begin with saying that I am a bit disturbed. Bothered. Even Angry. In viewing the current news around us, we see the repercussions of humanity’s imperfections. As you may know, we have a plethora of news that has hit the airwaves and internet. Everything from the Tibetan protests of the Olympics, polygamy raids, troop withdraw, Iraq, gas prices, market instability (not new), government and authority disarray and the lack of leadership and integrity needed to steer this country in the right direction.  It is enough to make a person’s head spin. Isn’t there more we can list? In fact, on a global scale, the problems we face today have not been experienced to this degree in any other time period. On the other hand, we also see much good, contribution and freedom that counters some of the world’s depravity. We are more educated and are better provided with multiple resources and aid than ever before. Nonetheless, we encounter needs and complications on an ever growing daily basis. How do we resolve and make sense of these events? How does it shape our perception of God’s love when we see our world and people in hurt? How do we counter the challenging views that question and/or undervalue the Bible and God’s compassion and mercy?

Most people do believe in God, but like the early Israelites, because we cannot see Him, it’s harder to reconcile the peace of God in a world of hurt. Therefore, the world rejects God and defaults to finding hope in man through temporary solutions. On the contrary, faith is the evidence unseen. We do witness God’s love and compassion through the Word and see his effects through people, events and prayers. This world is definitely in pain and we see horrible events around our country and world. But as a people, where is our hope? Who is more constant and unchanging? What is the power that saves us? When does our fear turn into faith? How do we find hope, peace and love in a world of chaos? These are some of the questions I was asked by an atheists friend. Yes, a friend. If we are true disciples we are lovers of both our neighbors and strangers. My friend was bombarded by the evil and destruction seen in this world. He actually told me he wanted to shut out the world, move on an island and build a bomb shelter.

His whole point was to not to be saved by others, but to save yourself. I was stunned by his emotion. I was not stunned by his reasoning. He is right; the destruction of our world is horrible and does appear void of hope – especially trying to find that hope in man. I shared with him how I understand why he feels the way he does. I mentioned that sometimes, I want to build a shelter away from the world myself. This friend was dreadfully hurting and was trying to resolve the matters in his terms, by running away and to hide. He was shutting off the world by cutting off himself.  But there was a bigger thing that bothered me. He was really running away from God, not the world. True, if we take the world at face value, it offers us nothing eternal. All the turmoil we see on the earth is enough to hide our eyes and turn away. It is impossible in our own attempts to save the world from its problems. People for eons have been trying to “save the world,” but no human ever has – ever! When trying to resolve one problem, we move to another only to find that our previous repair has been breached. This is like going through one broken band-aid after another, until our supply is empty. I could (still can) see why this man felt so strongly in his reasoning and emotion.

A curious thing happened. A change in the air was experienced. You could feel the winds of fury dying. A clearing was taking place, like a beacon in the stormy night to a stranded sailor. I listened to this man; his voice began to change. He quieted his tone. The sails of his anger were coming down. He whispered to me in a still small voice that said, “thank you.” I was stunned again. I asked him why. He explained by saying that he just needed someone to listen. He needed someone to validate his feelings, rather than to disagree and argue. He was afraid that he might appear “ungodly” or “crazy,” through his anger. His experience and anticipated fears only reinforced his anxiety and reactions. Here’s the fact. This man was only reflecting how others were treating him. I mentioned to him that people can be very cruel. Another truth is that God is very angry over sin and the ways of the world, shutting Him out, casting him aside.  See, I began to understand that the more we truly listen to people, we are truly loving them as God is truly revealing himself. Isn’t this what Jesus meant, when he said, “They will know us by our love?” (John. 13:35).

Where, how and why do we find hope in God?
Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them-- the Lord, who remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 146

Our Hope in Christ:
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John. 16:23