“Hope depends on our belief that the future can be changed. We can examine the past, learn from it and make decisions that will alter the course of our life.”
-Russ Ewell, When God Isn’t Attractive
Regardless of one’s political beliefs, it is evident that the March for Our Lives movement is a powerful force of hope. In response to the most recent rise in school shootings, over 1.2 million people marched to promote gun control on March 24. Many of the leaders pushing this movement are high school students who, after surviving shootings at their own schools, have decided enough is enough and that it is time for a change. One of these students, David Hogg of Parkland, Florida, recently tweeted a Helen Keller quote that describes the key to effecting change:
"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."
-Helen Keller #wednesdaywisdom
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 28, 2018
It is this very hope that motivates these kids in everything they do. It drives them to march, to speak, and to call for others to do the same. No matter the obstacle, they hold onto this hope, which is the unwavering belief that the future can and will change for the better. Whether or not you agree with their cause, can you say you have the same fervor and determination to fight for what you believe in? As much as I am inspired by the young people of our country, I am also challenged by the passion and resolve these teenagers have conveyed over the past months. God calls each of us to be men and women of action, and the moment we lose sight of who God is and the unwavering hope he can give us is the moment we stop fighting for what we believe.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
It is not enough to read the Bible or attend church. It is not even enough to acknowledge that there is a problem and something needs to change. God expects us to actually do something about it. Imagine standing in front of a mirror. Broccoli is stuck in your teeth, your hair looks like it could be a home for a small family of birds, and your clothes are covered in coffee stains. Now imagine seeing this hot pile of mess, acknowledging it, and then going about your day without doing anything to change it. You wouldn’t be able to get two steps past the front door without someone looking at you like you were crazy.
It is rare that we would find these outward blemishes and not do something to change them, but we often don’t approach deeper flaws with the same tenacity that we do with our appearance. When we see bitterness, selfishness, or arrogance in ourselves or in those around us, it is easy to look the other way and act like everything is fine, especially when we have lost hope that we can change. God wants us to be people who retain the unwavering belief that we can change, which leads us to having a relationship with him that is dynamic and involved, rather than one that is complacent and stagnant. When we let fear stop us from taking action, we never see the difference we are capable of having.
Esther: How am I supposed to see the king? It’s known throughout the land, from the greatest of the king’s officials to the common folk who live in the provinces, that any person who approaches the king in the inner chamber without being invited is sentenced to death. That’s the law! There’s only one exception, and that’s if the king were to hold out the gold scepter to that person and spare his or her life. It’s been 30 days since the king last summoned me!
Esther 4:11 VOICE
In the book of Esther, the Israelites lived under the rule of another country, facing harsh discrimination and ostracization, to the point of being threatened with death and genocide. Though Esther was the queen, she was also Jewish. When her cousin Mordecai asked for her help, she initially responded with fear and resistance. She doubted her influence, wondering how she could be capable of doing anything substantial. She saw all the potential obstacles that would face her if she chose to stand up and speak out, and questioned her ability to fight through these challenges. What if she does everything she can to help her people and fails? Luckily, she had a friend, Mordecai, who inspired her to push forward despite this fear.
If you stay silent during this time, deliverance for the Jews will come from somewhere, but you, my child, and all of your father’s family will die. And who knows? Perhaps you have been made queen for such a time as this.”
Esther 4:14 VOICE
Mordecai did not respond to Esther with reassurance that she wouldn’t fail. Instead, he told her that silence is worse than any failure. It is better to try and fail miserably than to stay silent and watch others suffer. He challenged her view that she was not the right person to help by insisting that she may have been the only person to help. Perhaps she was in the position of power that she was in, had the talents and interests that she had, for such a time as this.
This is true for all of us. There is a person suffering, a need being unmet, and a voice being silenced that can only be reached by us. God chose us to be in the jobs, majors, and relationships we have in order to make a difference in the lives of those around us. The moment we let go of fear and believe this is the moment we begin to enact real change.
Who in your life needs help? What do you need to change today in order to help them?
To learn more about what you are made for, come to BACC 2018 Spring Campus Retreat, “Made for This.”
To learn more about how to get hope that you can change, read Russ Ewell’s book When God Isn’t Attractive.