Hope for Change

Adobe Spark (9)

Some things never change. Which is kinda depressing.

This world needs to change. Every part of it. Honestly, it’s hard to see the good anymore…

I know that sounds depressing. It’s the 4th of July weekend – we’re supposed to be happy, right? Celebrating our great country!

Except…it’s hard to think that our country is that great. And the ways that people say will make it “great again” would only make it worse.

Being a history buff and political junkie often makes me depressed. The world is messed-up and filled with messed-up people who manage to mess up even the good stuff – and they’ve been doing it for thousands of years!

But when I get in these Negative-Nelly moods, I need to remind myself of a promise: the Gospel changes everything.

With Jesus Christ, there is hope for change.

Our country is taking the expressway to destruction. We’re caught in an election between a third-world populist and a European liberal. The supporters of one candidate tweet out their desires to turn political enemies into lampshades while supporters of the other dance in the streets to celebrate their right to kill unborn children. The level of ignorance is simply astounding. So much hate. So little love.

But for America, there’s hope for change…

Our world is no better. Just this week, a bombing struck the Istanbul airport – a spot where I stood just a month ago. This marks the fourth time this year that a bomb has exploded in that city in a place I have been. 41 dead. Before the world could even process that tragedy, we hear news of a hostage situation in Bangladesh. 22 dead and counting. Just today, another bombing in Baghdad – 126 dead. It seems like nothing can stem this tide of violence. So much death. So little life.

But for the world, there’s hope for change…

Even when I narrow it down to my world, it doesn’t seem to get much better. My church is looking for a pastor, struggling financially, and facing a daunting task of revitalizing much of the ministries – especially among the millennials. We haven’t seen an unsaved person come to know Christ in years. People are leaving the church. There are more empty seats and less money.

My ministry is among the junior high, which I absolutely love (they haven’t killed me yet!). But as with any work among American young people, it’s not always that rewarding. Apathy is the national pastime, and it’s so hard to get teens excited about God when the world offers so much. So much fake. So little fire.

But for my church, there’s hope for change.

But surely when I look at my own spiritual walk, there’s not much that needs changing, right? I’m practically perfect! A more false statement could never be said.

My love for Christ is not anywhere close to where it should be. There’s constant struggle against temptation – unfortunately, there’s also constant failing. When it’s not lust, it’s pride. When it’s not pride, it’s laziness. When it’s not laziness, it’s a host of other sin problems – more and more keep rising to the surface. Even the good things I do, I seem to do out of selfish ambition. What’s wrong with me? What’s right with me? So much sin. So little success.

But for me, there’s hope for change.

How can I possibly say that? I’ve tried to change my life, give up sin habits, spend more time in prayer, etc. It fails miserably every time. We can try to change our country or the world. But who can really defeat ISIS terror? And if we do, who’s to stop another group from rising up? No matter who wins the election, do you really think abortion will be outlawed?

It seems we Christians have permanently lost the battle for the world.

Sure, change for the worse is possible – actually, it’s definite. But change for the better is impossible in today’s climate.

But then I read a journal of modern missions endeavors (Tim Keesee’s Dispatches from the Front – read it!). I see that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Communists, and demon-worshipers are coming to Christ in droves. It makes you want to laugh to think of poor Mao realizing that despite his efforts, China probably has the most Christians of any country in the world! Prime Minister Modi of India may be trying to stamp out the Christians, but Christ keeps popping up in more and more lives. ISIS is bombing the world left and right trying to defeat “the people of the cross,” only to see Christians spring to life in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and even the Islamic State itself!

It’s like world leaders are playing whack-a-mole with Christianity. They hit it hard in one spot, only to see it pop up in another – stronger! Some days I just want to gather all the world leaders together and say, “Come at us, bros!”

You can try to attack Christianity. But you’ll only make it spread farther.

Contrary to appearances, the world is changing. America is changing. And not for the worse. And not in some glorious, earth-shattering way either.

The world is changing every time a man or woman, child or teen says, “I love Jesus.”

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -2 Cor. 5:17

I rejoice that I serve a God who delights in the impossible. Reading Luke 1, I almost laughed to think that God chose the two women for whom it was impossible to have children (barren and virgin) to bring forth his Son and His forerunner. Then I thought about God’s promise to Abraham to give him descendants as numerous as the stars…only to give him one proper son. And to give his son only two sons – one of whom was a jerk. A family with barrenness running in their DNA is not a good family to start a new people group with!

God can change the world – because He already did when Jesus died and rose. He can change America. He can change my church. And He can even change me!

“He holds all the keys of every situation.”

Happy 4th! And don’t worry about America – God’s got it handled.

Change is coming…because Change is already came and is coming back!

-M@

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