The wind in town has changed directions, and its blowing in our faces. Over the last few weeks there has been a significant rise in bullying, self harm, and suicide in the community where I live. Most notably among young students. I wish I could say that the only real “rise” is in my community awareness and not in the actual number of these terrible incidents.
Unfortunately, the local news has reported that five young people have taken their lives since mid-January; the average is seven a year. This is on top of several major incidents of bullying, one of which involved middle school students attacking another student with a knife, a bat, and a tire iron.
This stream of news has run continuously. It seems like every day my wife comes home from teaching and shares another heartbreaking story. The public school where I volunteer has not been able to hand out the newspaper to students for three weeks because of the headlines. I am discouraged, I am sad, I am crushed for these kids.
Our world is starving for hope. When death seems like a friend, it’s because hope is a stranger. How devastating that children see suicide as the answer to escape bullying, anxiety, and problems at home? They feel as though there are no other options, that they are alone, and that the weight is too much to bear. Purpose seems lost and hope has run out.
We need to restore hope!
Hope has not run out. Hope has not disappeared. Hope is here and we need to remind one another that it exists. The world is desperately starving for something that is completely available. The only shortage is the number of people handing it out.
As followers of Christ, we have the greatest hope that there is. A hope that doesn’t just meet the needs of a moment, but meets the needs of eternity. Christians believe that God saw the brokenness of our world, brokenness we create and brokenness thrown on us (Romans 3:23). That brokenness has significant ramifications for all people (Romans 6:23). But God did not want anyone to suffer from that brokenness so He sent His Son, Jesus, to fulfill the solution by sacrificing Himself on a cross. After dying, He rose from the dead, conquering death. And now for those who believe in Him, He gives the gift of eternal life (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10). We are set free from the brokenness of this world and have hope in Christ, whose love is endless (Acts 13:38-39).
This great hope is available for everyone. God cares about every single person on the planet. No one is too broken for Him to love. Every human being matters to Him and deserves to know His boundless love. So who are we to withhold that hope from them? If you’re standing in front of the starving with bread in your hands, wouldn’t you share it?
We have the hope that the world is starving for. God has given us a love like none other, that others have never experienced, let alone heard of. They are desperate for just a fracture, of a glimpse of hope. They need to know that there is more than the brokenness and pain of this world. That there is something more to this life that is worth living for. They need to hear that someone loves them and that someone believes that they have worth.
The voices of this world that bully, discourage, and tear apart life cannot be the loudest voice in the room. They cannot be the loudest voices in our schools and across social media. It is time, now more than ever, for hope to be heard above those voices. Hope must be shouted from the mountaintops so that our children, our families, our neighbors, our communities, and the world will know without a doubt that there is hope and it rests in Jesus.
How will you shine a light of hope in this dark world today?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” 1 Peter. 1:3-6