This is Easter weekend when we remember the death and resurrection of Christ. Easter is a great time to be thinking about hope—and that’s what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks. Can we really hope and have faith for those big, impossible things, or should we settle for what seems possible? I know as followers of Jesus we are supposed to answer the question with “of course we should dream big dreams and have faith” - but do you and I really, in our heart-of-hearts, believe that is true?
What did the disciples really feel during the hours of Christ’s arrest, his trial and crucifixion? I suspect that they wondered whether their faith in Jesus the Messiah had been misplaced. Were their hopes and dreams of the Kingdom that Jesus talked about just a fairy tale? Had the last three years of their lives been a waste? Would Jesus rise from the dead? After all, that was impossible! Nobody had ever done that before.
A couple of weeks ago while Debbie and I were in Colorado Springs we joined some of the international staff of DAI (www.daintl.org) for dinner. I had the opportunity to spend some time with the DAI leader from the Congo, and we started talking about hope. The Congo has experienced years of civil war, ethnic and tribal violence, grinding poverty and huge levels of corruption. I asked my brother if he saw any hope for his nation. After all, nothing seemed to work in his country—he even had to go to Zambia to get mail, since there was no mail service in his city of 5 million people. Could there be large scale change in the Congo? Was there hope?
For the last 8+ years Debbie and I have spent a lot of time in Malawi. It has been exciting to see how God has worked in villages and communities to bring visible transformation. Children are being fed, the rate of HIV/AIDS infections have stabilized, a growing number of women are supporting their families, people are coming to know Jesus, and hope is springing up where there was no hope. But nationally, it is a different story. Over the last two years there has been widespread corruption, over 10% of the population is still on the brink of starvation and nothing much has changed. Is there hope for even a small country like Malawi?
A few days after talking to my DAI colleague from Congo, Debbie and I spent some time with our long-time friend Steve. For almost 20 years Steve has talked about “discipling nations”. His passion has been to see entire nations living out the Sermon on the Mount. Villages and communities doing that are well and good—but Steve believes God wants to see entire nations follow Him. As we talked, I thought to myself—that is impossible, we have never seen that happen before—it’s a “pipe dream”.
But, this weekend is all about the impossible. It’s about life where there was death. It’s about hope where there was no hope. It’s about the impossible happening right before our eyes. As I write this I realize that perhaps my hopelessness needs to be replaced by hope, my unbelief needs to turn into faith, and that I need to believe God for resurrection where there has been death. After all, isn’t that a significant part of what Easter is all about?
Will you join us in believing God for the impossible?
Have a blessed Easter.
Karl and Debbie