In defense of Hope {or What to remember when Apathy wages war}

Lately, the more I lose myself in the lives of those around me, the less I can say for certain. The more I pour out, the more I realize how little I have to offer, like graciously bestowing cartoon band-aids on an amputee.

I’ve run out of answers and the heavy questions keep coming, taunting me to give up hope and join the ranks of the despairing - ranks led by Apathy. His target is my passion and his plan is destruction. He is most deadly when questions are rising and when fears are feeding. Why? Because he is too passive and too scrawny to look the uncertainties and realities dead on and admit: yes, this is a tough one, but there is still hope. He refuses to trust when facing the hard stuff.

Instead, apathy throws in a grenade of negativity and then slinks away, hoping it all just goes away or at least that it’s unrecognizable after the dust settles.

And when this apathy becomes a bigger force than passion, it causes people to sit around tables and in pews and refuse to acknowledge a need for change or introspection. Apathy just goes AWOL.

Let me be honest with you - I want to get as far away from that mentality as I can. It makes me want to jump further into action, deeper into trying, longer into difference-making. Because somehow, someday, I long to prove something I guess. I must prove to myself that Hope wins and that even in the face of dark reality, Light conquers hate and Love redeems us all.

Maybe I’m most afraid that spirit-crushing grenade will shatter me as well.

Maybe it has, in part.

See, even in my most optimistic moments, I must admit that apathy has hit some marks, done some damage. There has been a shattering of hope and a scattering of what was envisioned, of motivation, and of longing.

And so I’m sitting here today, bloodied and fragmented in more than a few ways. I’ve come up against battle grounds where apathy's flag is pounded in firmly, declaring ownership -- Cemented mentalities. Unanswerable questions. Hearts grown stale in comfortable living. Systems that work but without effectiveness. Hierarchies and powers-to-be and how-it’s-always-been.

Advancing on those hills has been defeating, difficult, depressing. I've seen hope blown to bits, torn up by the cutting of those realities, and I've scrambled to find pieces big enough to cling to.

Maybe you too are white-knuckled around hope - hope that is now camouflaged and under fire. Maybe you're here with me, raging with all your energy to just not cave in and retreat.

It's tough, isn't it? Apathy threatens to destroy all you've longed for and prayed for. With a quick shoulder-shrug and "who cares anyway" flung over your turned back, you can desert the mission.

Or you can even light the enemy's fuse, the one pointing at your calling.

But, let me pull you close, exhausted as we are in the trenches, because together we need to hear this: There is still life here. Hope is still breathing.

I don’t know how long we will sit on this battle ground, this place of our undoing. I don’t know how long we will lay with the bones and the sinews of own naivety strewn about.

I don’t know how long before His Spirit hovers again and whispers Life. Renewal. Restoration.

But - stay in it, friend. Stay here, among the broken piece and wait for His victory. Remember, your Commanding Officer speaks light from darkness and life from death. He will win back for His glory the ground lost to apathy - the souls lukewarm with living, churches passionless with program-running, communities under siege of seniority, hearts burned out on betterment campaigns.

Because even when your hopeful heart takes a hit - or a hundred - always remember this:

The redemption mission of Jesus will not fail.

May this desperate, broken ground be exactly where God proves to you the purpose in your passion and His defense of Hope.