It started off as a small red bump, but I couldn’t leave it alone.
Tiny though it was, it had the power to demand my attention, pulling me away from everything around me.
The following day, that one small bump had gathered a crowd of friends and now a full-blown rash was covering my arms.
The poison ivy continued to spread and soon I was a miserable mess. As I battled the urge to attack the itch through the following days, I couldn’t help but consider the power ofcontagions. The oils from the poison ivy had attached themselves to my skin completelyundetected; yet within days, I couldn’t ignore its presence.
Ironically, I hadn’t stepped foot in a wooded area for months – the poison ivy had been given to me by my husband and while highly contagious, it’s not the only thing we are capable of passing on to those around us.
Every single day, we are given an incredible amount of power, the power to extend negativity…or hope.
Consider the world we live in. Most of what we see and hear is overwhelmingly, undeniably, devastatingly negative.Truth is, the average person today is exposed to more bad news in a week than someone fifty years ago heard in a year. No wonder depression, fear and anxiety run rampant.
We were not designed to carry the weight of so much negativity!
Yet, the pessimism, much like a rash, continues to fester, grow and spread with little restraint.
Discouraging as it seems, this scenario actually has set the body of Christ up with an amazing opportunity – extend hope. Yes! Hope!
You see, what we feed grows. When the church chooses to pick apart one another, attack those who are weak, cut down the ones who have hurt us and refuse to promote healing, our body becomes a breeding ground for pain.
What if we focused on Jesus? What if we kept the One who holds all authority in the forefront of our minds? What if we lived like we believed He truly loved our brothers and sisters? What if we lived like we believed He truly loved us? What if we lived the life we’ve been reading about in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians?
The truth is…while we are surrounded by a world filled with hurt and pain, hope is a scarce commodity. Few have it. Many want it. We can give it.
How do we offer hope? Hope is found in one word: Jesus. Through HIS love, we can:
• Love one another
• Extend grace though undeserved
• Promote our brothers and sisters – even above ourselves
• Serve – even when there’s no reward… especially when there’s no reward
• Forgive often
• Believe the best
Is the world a dark place? Sure. But darkness cannot coexist with light; therefore, be a light. Let the love of Jesus flow through you as a healing balm in a world where pain runs rampant. This is the hope we can offer.
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. (2 Corinthians 3:12)
Lynette Carpenter is married to Tim, and together they are raising their four active children on their family farm. They are also very engaged in life at their home church. Lynette’s is a lover of God and all things hope-filled, and her passion is to encourage women through her writing. You can read some of what she writes here: http://www.lynettecarpenter.com/