Fear is running rampant, unchecked and wild, through our world. The events unfolding before us is a large-scale picture of what has been going on in our homes and in our hearts since (almost) the beginning of time. Fear is a one-size-fits-all epidemic. It uses the same methods when it rears up in my heart, in my marriage, and in my friendships as when it runs through a crowd or a nation.
Fear isolates. It whispers in the darkness “You are alone. No one will help you.” It covers us with shame to keep us bound in addictions. It makes us think no other marriage has struggled like ours, no other person has had dark thoughts like these. It whispers lies to keep us from coming into the light.
Fear encourages us to see others in an all-or-nothing sense. It paints people with a wide brush so that it can make them objects and not real people. It divides people into groups and creates division and anger with statements like
All __________ are ____________. (You fill in the blank)
Statements like these create further division because no one likes to be painted with a wide brush. Fear makes us forget that people are individuals, created by God and therefore worthy of respect. We forget that these individuals have independent thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.
Fear takes away curiosity. Fear makes us so ready to defend ourselves at all cost that it takes away our ability to ask questions that will help us understand someone else’s point of view.
Fear begets fear. The more we surround ourselves with fearful thoughts, statements, and actions, the more fear will surround out hearts and paralyze us.
Fear chokes out hope. Fear screams and calls for immediate, desperate action. Fear makes us think we are alone, without help, and ultimately without hope. Fear paints the future in total darkness.
Fear is like a tornado. It is loud and destructive and throws debris on everyone around. As long as the tornado is there, no one can reach out to help, no one can be heard over the noise, and everyone gets hurt.
Hope is something else entirely. Hope starts out quiet, sometimes as a small spark. The presence of hope can remove the fear tornado so that healing can take place.
Hope builds community. When we surround ourselves with people who fight for hope, we hear these beautiful words, “You are not alone. I am with you.” They remind us of truth, which brings us into the light. And Hope Warriors lovingly help us let go of the lies we’ve believed for far too long.
Hope makes us curious. It makes us question the way things are. We ask “What if…” “Does it have to stay this way?” “What would it look like if…” or “What am I hoping for?”
As we see each other as individual humans, and ask the curious questions in order to understand different views, we get to know each other. And we will find that what we have in common, the search for love, security, acceptance, and worth, is important.
Hope begets courage. Hope stirs a quiet, fierce strength inside us. Hope helps us believe the future could be good. When those around us are pointing us toward truth, we grow brave. When we point others toward truth, we grow strong.
Hope reminds us that change is possible. It reminds us that the last chapter has not been written, and that we hold the pen to begin a new chapter.
When we fight for hope and live brave, so much is possible.