USA (MNN) — Let’s be honest. The United States Presidential Election will be over in less than a week. But the casualties have left scars in our neighborhoods, our churches, our cities, and our nation.
From apocalyptic memes to the shredding posts on our Facebook feeds, there’s a tone of despair from this emotionally-charged election season.
Ron Hutchcraft with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says, “Let me quote one of America’s leading historians I saw in an interview yesterday who said, ‘This is America’s wildest election in modern history.’… Every time we watch the news, it’s like, this is beyond belief! This is beyond description. This is beyond the pale. A lot of us have gotten anxious or discouraged or despairing or angry about this.”
The View from Higher Up
So what’s to be done about this despair in America today? Well, Hutchcraft has a few thoughts. But first, he takes us no farther than the streets of Manhattan to explain.
“I’ve driven to Manhattan a lot of times, and the streets of Manhattan are crazy. You’re pushed around by buses and taxis and surging pedestrians and you can get really unhinged by the horns and the screaming sirens and everybody’s so pushy.
“But if you go up to the top of the Empire State Building, you get the view from up there and you’re above all that mess and stress and it’s a pretty breath-taking view…. It all looks different from higher up.”
Similarly, says Hutchcraft, “I have found that this crazy, swirling, highly-charged, emotional time looks a whole lot different if you take the elevator to the top floor and begin to look down and see it through God’s window.”
A Crisis of Hope
Hutchcraft says right now there’s a crisis of hope in our culture. And Christians need to have a different perspective.
“One of the things I really believe God is seeing as He looks at this, and He wants us to see it as His people, is going to take us right to the very bottom line of what missions is all about. Remember, the charge was, ‘You shall be my witnesses.’”
God’s call for us be witnesses for Christ exists at all times, in every season, no matter what’s happening in our nation, or on Twitter, or in your office. The Great Commission has lasting implications for how you interact with others.
“That’s where God’s people become the hope carriers,” says Hutchcraft, “and this whole turbulent time is elevating the importance of the individual believer as the epicenter of hope for the people they know, the people they work with, the people they go to school with, the people they are in a club with, whatever it is.”
Not Just a ‘Pollyanna Perspective’
Sharing Christ’s hope isn’t a trite answer, and it’s not a call to disengage from the real world. Yes, resolutely participate in the political process, but with hope. Humbly submit to authority and petition for needed changes, but with hope. Meet up with friends and acquaintances to talk about the agonizingly hard and authentic things in life, but with hope.
Hope is raw, it’s real, and it’s what our neighbors need to hear from us now.
“The people around us, they’re seeing apocalyptic things that may happen, they see unsolvable problems, a culture that’s unraveling, leaders — no matter which leader — they all seem to have all kinds of baggage that seem to limit them as leaders in our eyes.”
Hutchcraft says, “We heard from Peter in the Bible that the magnet of a Christian is supposed to be their hope. He said in 1 Peter 3:15, ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.’
“What is it that’s going to make people interested in our Jesus? It will be that we have hope in the world where it’s hard to find. And we know that hope has a name…. The Bible says about Him in Hebrews 6:19, ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’ Where are you going to find that anchor these days? The hope isn’t the beliefs you have, it’s not the church you go to, it’s not all those meetings you go to, it’s not the rules you live by. It’s a person. It’s Jesus.”
You are the Living Proof
But what does that even mean? To radiate the hope of Christ?
Hutchcraft reflects, “To me, the definition of hope is things you never thought could change, can change. Things you never thought you could handle, you can handle. Because of Jesus.
“So, right now, you are living proof that through Jesus, a husband or wife can change.
“You are living proof that a parent can change or a lonely person can change, that a depressed person can change, that a temper or an addiction or somebody who’s an ‘all about me’ person can change.
“You are living proof that there’s Someone who can give hope when the doctor can’t.
“You are living proof that there is hope for a ‘hopeless’ marriage.
“You are living proof that there’s hope at the depths of grief when you’ve lost the most important person in your life.
“You are the living proof.”
In closing, Hutchcraft shares this thought: “My view from higher up says to me and to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, this isn’t a time to be known by our political affiliation or by our anger or by our anxiety. It’s a time to be known for our hope.”
Check in tomorrow as we continue with part two, talking about how to tangibly express Christ’s hope in our day-to-day interactions in a tumultuous post-election season.