Deeper Hope:

An Abiding Virtue

This book explores the meaning -- and application -- of Christian Hope. It takes the fuzzy concept of Hope and reveals it in everyday settings



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Panic and the Lie

Winston Churchill said it first: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” If you’re trying to manipulate others into action, panic is wonderful ally. Fear has issued a standing invitation. The voices of this age demand attention, and if we do not attend, they raise their volume to a glass-breaking pitch.

We live in the age of crisis. Government shutdowns. Financial collapse. Tom Brady's new haircut. Anyone who isn’t panicking obviously doesn’t understand the situation.

There is, however, a voice from another age: the age to come. The voice of peace. The voice of God.

There’s a woman tossed down into the dirt of the street. Around her angry voices cry, “Stone her!” They turn their attention to Jesus, who stoops to street level and presses his finger into the dirt. The voices cry again, with accusation and urgency, but Jesus speaks so quietly everyone has to shut up in order to hear his words.

Professional mourners wail outside the house because a young girl is dead. They excel in giving voice to grief and loss, but it’s all in a day’s work. Jesus asks, “Why all this commotion?” Instead of death, he sees a sleeping child, which elicits laughter and scorn, the cousins of crisis. In the end, the Lord’s quiet voice reaches the only ears that matter: “Talitha, koum.”

Even his closest friends know the songs of panic. When the boat is nearly swamped by wind and waves, they come to the sleeping Jesus in the back, resting on a cushion. “Rabbi! Don’t you care if we drown?” And this is the issue: when we enter into crisis, fear, and panic we are sure God doesn’t care. He doesn’t even answer. He’s asleep. What can you do when God is asleep?

But what if Jesus, asleep on a cushion, is the word of God to us? What if God is dreaming of better things for us? His inaction is a parable: “Don’t be afraid, where is your trust?”

The voice of crisis cries out for action. It shouts: do something, take up arms, mount your horse and ride! But the man on the cushion is the word of God to us:
    “In repentance and rest is your strength,

         In quietness and trust is your strength,” 

The only question is whether we will receive the Eternal Sabbath, or have none of it, and take up our horses to flee.

Panic tells the lie: God doesn’t care. Jesus tells the truth, even in his sleep.

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