Topic: Hope
Written By: Mark Taylor

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Even a cursory observation of modern American culture will likely result in the conclusion that, given a chance, this society leans toward polarization. Seldom is the middle represented in a discussion; rather the more frequent and loudest voices will be on the far extremes of whatever the conversation is about. For that matter, even the idea of having a conversation is often fleeting. Without careful policing, conversations quickly fall by the wayside in favor of debate and shouting.

That’s not a very cheerful picture of society. If I’m being honest, I must confess that it is often easy to lose hope when looking at the situation in which we find ourselves. If we cannot even talk to people whose ideas differ from our own, how can we possibly find any semblance of compromise or improvement?

But then, I look at my children. Children who have not experienced the polarization and demand for extremes that is so prevalent in society. Children who don’t yet understand the meaning of hate and discrimination. I am proud of my children. Even at their young ages, they demonstrate astounding characteristics that provide a ray of hope in hopeless situations.

What is the source of this ray of hope? It is a kindness that is an innate part of their character. It is a quiet strength that fosters leadership, individuality, and understanding. It is a fierce love and a childish but strong understanding of God’s love.

I also have the privilege of working with teenagers. Believe it or not, they, too, are a source of hope in this world. Yes, they have had more exposure to both the good and bad of society, but they have not allowed that to define them. The youth I know are pushing back against the extreme polarization, yearning for conversation and compassion. They are listening and asking to be heard rather than simply trying to shout the loudest at the debate. In them I see character that has the ability to transcend the worst of society and cultivate the best in one another.

Are my children perfect? Absolutely not. Are our teenagers perfect? Not even close. But even with all their flaws and shortcomings, those two tiny rays of hope band together to break through and provide a promise of a new day. In a way, they are like the rainbow after the great flood; a sign of God’s love for humanity.

But our children need our help. We must not abandon hope. We must continue to share and demonstrate God’s love with our children. We must continue to teach them to stand up for what is right and to push back against that which does not emulate God’s love. We must pray for them to become the people God wants them to be, to be defined by the fullness of God’s love and hope.

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