Thursday, May 22, 2008

Where Do We Find Real Hope?

As most of us know, there is one particular presidential candidate whose campaign slogans and literature all claim that if we endorse him, this country will have hope again. Today, Dave Burchett had a well-written blog entry on entitled, "With Apologies to Barrack (sic) Obama . . . Hope and Change Are Available Right Now." The main point of his blog entry can be summed up in this paragraph:

We are deluded into thinking that hope lies in a leader or a political party. We believe that change will come because of kindred politicians or better laws or lawsuits that establish justice as we see it. We think that the right leader will help educate every child no matter their circumstance. We hope that this political savior will provide healthcare for every person at no cost to them and that somehow we can be immune to the cost. This leader will help the poor find jobs and realize their every dream. And I picture God looking at His millions of followers with a heart sad with the knowledge that this earthly dream of hope and change will not satisfy. God has blessed this country with so much in money and resources. So much of what we now demand our government to do could be accomplished if God’s people simply read, trusted and followed His Word.

Read the whole thing. It's a great reminder, at this time when the media is so busy emphasizing political issues, that a political leader can never give us lasting hope, hope that satisfies even in the face of difficulties (like the tornadoes that whipped through an area less than half an hour from us this morning) or suffering (like the Chapman family's loss of their little girl). Hope can come only from Jesus Christ, and that is available all the time, not just in an election year.


Shawna said...

I like the statement... up until the end LOL I believe God has given us what we need inside of each of us, not just in a book of his words (I think the book of his words compliments what he instilled in each of us.). And I do think it sad how the American people have been so blindly lead... haven't we been down this path not to recently?

But I do disagree that an individual cannot deliver a message of hope nor motivate a people. There have been too many that have done so already. But, as the writer states... a leader will not educated each and every child, nor provide a good paying job for each and every individual nor insure all citizens without costs.

What a good leader that delivers the message of hope can do is remind us that the hope lies within each of us, that we are each capable if we believe and do according. A good leader will help us to feel capable and not like victims.

Marcy Muser said...

Oh, Shawna, I never said that a leader can't give us a message of hope - only that he (or she) cannot give us LASTING, satisfying hope, the kind of hope that gets us through the most difficult times in our lives. I agree, leaders can (and perhaps even should) give us hope, given that the present is never all that we wish it were. And leaders can and should motivate us to be more than we are.

The problem comes, to my way of thinking, when we make the assumption that we are in fact capable of changing the world, of fixing the problems that confront us, on our own power. The truth is, people have been trying to fix those problems for centuries, and they haven't been successful, because the root of the problem is in the human heart.

The reason Communism didn't work, for example, is not that it wasn't a good idea - it's that people are fundamentally flawed. No matter how nice it sounds, we all have a tendency to become lazy, and selfish. When we don't see something in it for ourselves, we (collectively) don't see much point in working. Communism failed because it didn't take into account the true nature of human beings.

The reason capitalism works (most of the time) is that it expects people to be lazy and selfish, and to need some external motivation. And when capitalism fails, it fails because it still underestimates the depth of our selfishness, the way that if we're given the chance, we will take advantage of a situation and rip off other people.

Our welfare system provides another good example. Intended originally all for good, to help those who genuinely needed help, it has become a sad mockery of what it was supposed to be. People in positions of authority use it to take advantage of others; people who don't need it find ways of tapping into it; and even those who really do need help find it difficult to work when they can have the money for free.

Of course, I'm not saying that all of us have equal capacity for this sort of thing - only that all of us have this innate tendency toward selfishness, this inclination to use what we have for our own advantage. Some people are able to fight against that, and to be generous - but they have other flaws and failures. No human leader can offer lasting hope, because no human leader can overcome those flaws and failures that come from within us.

Not only that, but no human leader can offer satisfying hope because even the best leaders have no ability to control circumstances - like cyclones, earthquakes, car accidents, birth defects, wild animal attacks, and so on. They can do what's possible to try to mitigate the effects, but they can't keep these things, things we all fear, from happening.

That's why I believe the only lasting, satisfying hope is in Jesus Christ. He is the only One who is able to change the human heart; He is the only One who has power over circumstances and can bring about good through even the worst of them.