Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… 1 Peter 3:15President Snow: Seneca… why do you think we have a winner?Seneca Crane: [frowns] What do you mean?President Snow: I mean, why do we have a winner? I mean, if we just wanted to intimidate the districts, why not round up twenty-four of them at random and execute them all at once? Be a lot faster.[Seneca just stares, confused]President Snow: Hope.Seneca Crane: Hope?President Snow: Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.Seneca Crane: So…?President Snow: So, CONTAIN it. Hunger Games (2012)
If you spend much time at all in the digital world, you and your preferences have been studied…by Google, by Facebook, by Twitter, by your browser of choice and all of your searches…and your computer then “gives” you the news it is pretty sure you are interested in hearing. So, if you have a bent towards unicorns and rainbows, you may come away from your computer with a pretty positive perception of the world (and you are, by the way, being set up for some large disappointments in life). By that same token, if your preferences run a bit darker, then your digital world news is no doubt filled with images and news reports of prejudice and murder and intolerance and persecution and division. Either way, paying even a small amount of attention to what is happening around us in the world will eventually lead us all to the same realization: “hope” is becoming a fairly priceless commodity in our world. Scripture, of course, foretells of this trend.
A gospel centered worldview recognizes this harsh reality. It sees the hopelessness of this broken world and all it has to offer, and it rests assured that we (the church) have the only lasting solution to that hopelessness. We, the church, are walking around in a world plagued with a terminal illness and we know we have the only cure. And it is that worldview that should likewise inform all our messaging to the lost and broken world around us. There are broken people and broken families filling the community each of our local churches serves. They are all looking for a cure for that brokenness. In short, they are looking for hope. The question is, are we offering it?
Jesus’ message was all about hope. Even as he spoke the Beatitudes in his sermon on the mount, he looked across a sea of broken people and called out the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. He saw them, and he called them specifically to a hope only He could afford them. The apostle Paul had the same worldview in Romans 5, and the apostle Peter demonstrated it again in 1 Peter 3. In Christ’s revolution, this is our message. It is one of hope in a world without hope. We can never lose sight of that. Right?