Church + Unsung Heroes = Hope
by Sarah Bessey
If I am intentional about holding space for the stories of pain and despair and wounding, I am also intentional about holding space for the hope and the victory.
I have hope first of all because of, well, Jesus. Everything always comes back to him, because I believe in the redemptive movement of God, moving the story of humanity further into God's purposes and heart for us, one story at a time. Because I have faith in the soon-coming King, because I believe we know how the story ends—all things restored, all tears wiped from our eyes, love wins—and because of the millions of places where heaven is already breaking through on earth.
I have hope because I believe in the power of the grassroots, because I believe in the little ones and the little ways.
And perhaps most of all, I have hope because of the hundreds of unnamed and unnoticed and uncelebrated disciples who simply get on with it. Far away from the blogging and the slick websites and the fancy microphones, they are engaged in the reality of living out the hope of glory in their real, right-now lives in the trenches. The ones who are serving their communities, teaching kids to read, taking meals to the elderly and sick, inviting immigrants to share their Thanksgiving table. The ones who are leading Bible studies in prisons and praying for the sick and rescuing girls from brothels in Thailand and passing Kleenex across the kitchen table.
"Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" (Heb.12:1-3, The Message).
Sarah Bessey is a writer, a speaker, and award-winning blogger. She is the author of Jesus Feminist (Howard Books, 2013) and lives in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and their three tinies.