time to grow up hope

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”   ~ Fred Rogers

 


We live in a cold world.  A dark world.  A world desperately crying out.  For HOPE.  For HELP. For a hand UP, not necessarily a hand OUT.

A world where so many people have so much of the necessities of life, never mind the extent of the extravagance, and yet there are still those everywhere, even in our own country, who go to sleep at night ravaged by starvation and thirst, curable and incurable disease, filth and homelessness, who will wake up tomorrow, still without food, clean water, clothing, shoes, homes, family, good medical care, much less love or compassion…

A world where natural disasters of tornado, hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, forest fire proportions can devastate entire countries, cripple cities, demolish buildings and dreams in a fell swoop, where frigid cold can destroy crop seasons and droughts threaten livestock farms, where the long-term effects of such things that are completely out of our control are like ripples in a pond, that continue to have lasting results upon society…

A world where the value of human life is questioned repeatedly as the number of international and domestic orphans continues to rise astronomically, where foster care systems are bursting at the seams, where poverty wreaks untold havoc upon the lives it steals, like the ripples of a rock thrown into still water, where abortions are performed umpteen times a day but helpful alternative support and care for women, children and the unborn is limited, where human trafficking and sex slavery of men and women and children of all ages and races still exists, much less at the pace it races…

A world where mental illnesses rage above, at, and below the surface of too many people who may or may not seek helpful treatment, where foreign and homegrown terrorists explode bombs in secret battles and on marathon sidelines or crash hijacked airplanes, where kids kill kids or themselves from bullying or drugs, where abuse too often looks like a parent, grandparent, or neighbor and attacks the physical being and inner soul simultaneously…

A world where adults openly jeer and bully anyone’s children for a lack of stellar athletic prowess or grace, where they gawk at or avoid or poke fun at those special individuals with special needs but don’t offer assistance, where they threaten and stereotype another’s racial or religious background – all too often in front of children who soak up these behaviors like sponges and recycle it back into a younger world of public confusion and secret pain…

A world where we have to caution kids not to talk to hopefully kind-hearted people trying to be polite, to be alert to people following them, to listen for cues of a peer’s bullying behavior or suicidal thoughts, to watch for guns, knives, and bomb threats in school or at the mall, to be aware of appropriate physical contact with not just the other kids in their lives, but that of the adults as well – from teachers or clergy or a friend’s parents or the neighbors, where kids sometimes play outside, but where the threats can look like rooftop snipers or violent drug dealers or possible kidnappers or pedophiles who lurk in the darkness and on the playgrounds…

A world where violent video games are purchased and played for fun, while an even more violent reality plays out on TV, streaming live from a war-ravaged nation or from our own embattled streets and neighborhoods, but a compassion for those voices and faces lost in the aftermath are too often forgotten and invisible, even as supposedly peaceful protests erupt into violence against self, others, and police, stemming from social media bursts that encourage loud action but not thoughtful reaction or kind hands of comfort…

Starts to look pretty bleak, doesn’t it?  Like a broken world, a helpless, hope-lost world.  Like a world that desperately needs a hero, maybe to save us from ourselves, maybe to save us from spiraling deeper into the already dark abyss that tries to pull us in…

But I really don’t think we need a quick-fix superhero, or at least not one of the Superman or She-Ra type.  And I really don’t think that sticking a Band-Aid on a problem solves it.  And I don’t really think that NOT doing something is enough.

And that is where every single one of us is crucially important, as we are each called by God Himself to chip away at the darkness and bring in the Light.  Especially those of us who believe that Jesus Christ died for each and every soul, hand-crafted by God Himself, valued and loved and made in His image.

There are certainly good people out there, really good people, trying with all their might to make a difference, to overcome the darkness that works relentlessly, that seeps into the hearts, minds, and souls with too much ease and way too much pleasure.  I absolutely do not want to minimize their hard work, their devotion, their time, or anything else they do or have given up for their efforts.  They work tirelessly and tiredly to take on these seemingly untouchable, insurmountable plagues upon our society and our world.  There are huge efforts made in the name of faith or of good will to address those already in need and to prevent those who could be in future need…

And yet, there just aren’t enough of these helpers.  The problems keep creeping past their best work and diligent hands to multiply and spread like choking weeds, among the vibrant flowers of possibility and hope.  We need more help.

Maybe that is what we can do – to try to be an army of tiny superheroes that work to affect change.  Real change, not the Band-Aid kind of solution.  Obviously there is still room for more world-changers, for more great efforts, for more faith-filled and goodwill work.  It’s an uphill battle and one that’s riddled with potholes and slippery slopes. And it’s a battle that we absolutely cannot enter alone, as our human strength for these challenges will falter, and our human desire for praise for the efforts we make may cloud our eyes from the true Purpose for which the Call was issued.

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassionthen make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:1-4, emphasis added).”

Just look at what that passage really says.  It means that we CAN’T leave these troubles for someone else to tackle.  And it means that we CAN’T sit idly by, waiting for the problems to disappear.  And it means that we CAN’T watch the world continue to spin without trying to make a difference.  A big difference.  A little difference.  Any difference at all.  We MUST DO SOMETHING to bring God’s Love, tenderness, compassion into the dark brokenness – because we are loved by God and united with Christ.

Our God is the God of all things, all people, all nations, all help-ers, all hurt-ed, even all the hurt-ers.  He knows us just where we are, in all of our innermost good, bad, and ugly places.  And yet, God, and God alone, inspires and encourages and commands us to love and cherish and support and uplift and grow up the downtrodden, the needy, the vulnerable, and the weary.  He requires our hands and our feet to carry His Love into this broken world, out of the mere fact that He first loved us.  God’s good, grace-filled, holy Love must be the motivation behind every effort made to make a difference – no matter the size of the effort made.

Let me say that again – The work that must be done cannot be done alone, and none of it is insignificant.  It must be motivated by, blessed by, strengthened by, and maintained by faith, trust, love, hope, mercy, and Heaven itself must proclaim it as glorifying of His great name.  We absolutely must take God’s call to venture forth, driven by a crushing need to DO SOMETHING TO HELP, to reach down and to help up those who need hope, who need God’s Grace and Redemption and Might to strip away everything that holds us back from Him, until we can only all on our knees, broken for His glory, and not for our own.

It’s time.  It’s time to love as we are Loved, and not by how we want to be praised. It’s time to listen to the call God has placed upon each of us to take His Love and His Grace and His Mercy into the shadows to bring His Light.  It’s time to be used by God to make a difference, any good difference for God’s glory.  It’s time to grow up Hope.

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About Meredith

Hi! I’m Meredith.
I’m a mom of three sweet little girls who keep me busy all the time, a wife to an amazing man who keeps me sane, and a fan of food, nature, fitness, gardening, travel, and so much more.

Most especially, I’m trying to figure out how to find Faith in the every day.

Because FINDING THE GOOD needs to become SHARING THE GOOD so that BEING THE GOOD becomes the calling within each of our hearts and souls and lives every single day.

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