by Bob Honegger
As we read and hear about the bad things happening in our country and around the world, it is easy to have the attitude that the world is very rapidly falling into a state of deep despair. A recent article written by Shane Bennett entitled “Five Reasons You Can Have Hope for the World” sheds a different light on the state of affairs in the world. Shane is a missionary working with Muslims and is a dynamic mobilizer for God’s work throughout the world. Here is a short summary of his reasons:
1. God’s purposes are certain. The story opens with God telling Abraham and Sarah that they will get lands, children, a great name and blessings to give to all nations and people groups to accomplish His purpose. At the other end of the story, John is given the vision of a great multitude that no one can count from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
2. Many things are better than used to be. According to J.D. King of World Revival Network, over 15% of the people in previous centuries, died from violence and war. In the 21st century that number has dropped to less than 1%. Since 1980 world poverty has dropped from 50% to 21%. In developing countries it is projected that extreme poverty could drop from 16% of the population to less than 3% by 2030. Infant mortality has dropped in the Industrialized West from 25% in 1800 to less than 4% globally.
3. Jesus is bringing fresh hope to new people. With current global refugee crisis, God is bringing people from unengaged areas right into access to the gospel message. “It all looks like very much like Paul’s sermon in Athens. Many are reaching out and finding life.”
4. The harvest force is growing. As the gospel goes out in new places, it is going in the hands and hearts of new ambassadors: Chinese believers taking the gospel back to Jerusalem, Latin believers serving Muslims in North Africa, and Nigerian Christians going to Europe.
5. God continues to use “dopes like me. “ (For all of you who have had the opportunity to hear Shane, you can just hear him saying that). A direct quote: “It never ceases to amaze me. God took this beautiful creation and entrusted it to a couple who traded it away for a piece of fruit. Then he turns around and entrusts an apparently pretty big part of the rehab project to people like you and me. Sometimes I’m tempted to say, you’d think He would learn.”
What a great God. What a great hope. What a wonderful time to be alive.