It might be the most hopeful time our world has even seen, and we don’t even know it.
When I was a kid the police came to my house to talk to me. I knew why they were there. I was almost expecting to get caught I think. As a kid though, it made sense why I did what I did. As an adult looking back, I deserved what happened and then some!
For those of you who knew me as a kid, you know my world revolved around my bike. I loved my bike, and everything about it. This love began at the age of three when I freaked out an entire neighborhood and jumped on my little blue, metal seated bike and started riding it at top speed around our cul-de-sac. Kids didn’t wear helmets back then, and if anybody should have, it should have been me.
When I was four my parents bought me a red huffy BMX, banana seat and all. What a difference the giant, cushiony seat made! A few years later, I got a more streamlined seat and painted my bike black. A few years after that I got a Diamond Back, and then my favorite bike, a lightweight Mongoose racing bike. Not a kid in the neighborhood could beat me in a street race. I rode half pipes and jumped through the air with the greatest of ease. That love of jumping my bike to the highest of heights, however, was about to get me in a whole lot of trouble.
All around our neighborhood was new housing construction, with piles of wood and materials all over the lots. From my perspective, as a kid, it didn’t matter if I took some pieces of wood and built some jumps with it. I didn’t see it as stealing. Honestly, I never viewed it as anything but through the eyes of a kid whose priority is to fly off of jumps. Everybody had the same priority, right?
I wasn’t sneaky about it. Actually, if memory serves, I’m pretty sure I took the wood while men were there working on the houses. I wasn’t being discreet at all. I was only interested in building a massive ramp.
And that’s when the police came, and they didn’t look so pleased. I was about fourteen at the time, and the officer stood about eight feet tall and had a flat top. I’m not sure if he would look less mean without the flat top, but it definitely enhanced the moment. He pointed to the wood I was building my ramps with and said they wanted the wood returned and, “They won’t press charges.”
It took me seconds to get up, load up our wheelbarrow and head down the street. After a few trips I was done, and both the officer and the construction guys seemed satisfied. My mom took me to the lumber yard nearby and helped me use my lawn mowing savings to legally obtain my much desired wood. In less than an hour, I was back to building my ramps.
From the perspective of a fourteen year old boy, the most important thing is to build ramps so ours bikes can fly through the air. To the owner of the construction company, the most important thing was to protect his assets. To the police officer, the most important thing was to find out who stole the wood.
My perspective has dramatically changed as I’ve matured and gone through different stages of life. Before I was divorced, I was probably one of the roughest and most legalistic people you would meet, especially towards other men who were heading towards a divorce. In my shame I can say I always blamed the guy, because aren’t you supposed to be the spiritual leader of your family? I repeated things I heard, sometimes from folks who meant well, but didn’t always love well. I didn’t understand the pain divorced folks can go through and how much it can hurt. I always said “it takes two to tango.” I shouldn’t have said that. It was insincere and showed a complete lack of depth and understanding. God allowed me to endure such pain for my betterment, and for the betterment of those I love and cherish the most. He also allowed me to endure it so I could be a true light to others, no matter who they were and what they’ve gone through.
Perspective. Even in a time like this in our country mine is quite hopeful. It isn’t hopeful because of what I’ve done, but because of what Jesus did. It’s hopeful because of how I am seeing God work in the lives of my friends and family members. I’m hopeful because I know right now God is doing something that may seem so small in one of the lives of my friends (maybe you!) and it’s going to blossom into something brilliant and beautiful.
It has never been a more important time for us to have the right perspective, and the right perspective begins with knowing that we have a Savior named Jesus who “makes all things new” and he does this for everyone who asks. Including me. And including you. If this is your perspective, and I hope it is, we need your voice now more than ever. The world needs you to speak up and to offer them something they might not be getting anywhere else. If we don’t do this, who will?
What bring me the most hope is that God is always working in us, and building something in and around us. When we screw up or face a difficult trial, we can lose sight of the work he is doing, but it’s often in these moments he is doing the most. Isn’t it true that when we look back on times like this, God was working all along and did something unbelievable? Our country is in an interesting position right now, looking at one of two potential leaders who most Americans don’t like. We learn from the scriptures and from our lives it’s in moments like this when God is doing the most and getting to make something pretty big happen. I can’t wait to see what the Lord will do here in America. It is going to be an amazing year!