Humanity is doomed. It really has nothing left to give. Perhaps there may be small glimmers of hope, but these do not last, simply fading away with everything else that once was good. We go about our days working a global economy that relies on the backs of slaves around the world. Millions of people lie homeless while a few desolate, confused people hold wealth that they don’t know what to do with. Immorality is prevalent in society, as people forsake morals for ideas like “relativism.” Right and wrong, good and bad, the lines between them becoming ever more faint with each passing day.
This past week, I went on a missions trip to Skid Row in Los Angeles with my school to work with the homeless. As part of our trip, we walked through Hollywood. Partly to see the stars in the sidewalk, but more so to see people. People everywhere. The rich and poor. The sane and the insane. The sober and the drunk and high. All butted up against each other. All feeling miserable. All utterly hopeless. It was then that I became sad. Sad for all the people trying to find a purpose. Sad for the state in which this people were in.
But sadness was not simply all that was stimulated that evening. It was soon subsided by anger. An anger for the people, the smog, the city and anything else that happened to annoy or agitate me. At this point I was ready to go home. I had reached my conclusions and since there didn’t appear to be any other alternatives, I was going to hang up my hat and call it a day.
However, God was not ready for me to just sit like that. While I walked in my miserable fury down the streets, our group found ourselves in a Starbucks. While sitting at a table, my glance turned towards the bracelet on my wrist. It had been made by a street vendor at Huntington Beach, and the text read: “SCA Missions.” In the midst of my feelings of anger and melancholy, looking at this bracelet began to make me think. I asked myself some questions. What is the concept of missions? Why do we do missions? What hope is there anyway? The answer of course became simple.
A man who saw the hopelessness in the world and did what only a God could do. He created hope. He sacrificed himself in order that such great expanses of desolation could be filled with love, joy, hope and other good things.
And He has allowed us to be a part of it. In fact, He has commanded us to. Hands and feet. Salt and light. The Great Commission. The teachings of Jesus were full of instruction on how to live in such a manner that we would truly reflect Him, and His message.
One final experience finally solidified these thoughts and helped me connect the dots in a manner in which I never have before. The following day, we were on skid row inviting the homeless to a free meal at a drop in center. One of the individuals we encountered was an older lady in an electric wheelchair who had prosthetic legs and was without hands. Over the course of our conversation, she asked us if we were going to wish her a Happy Easter. She then went on to tell of how she had had hope to live another day because of the message of Jesus. The cross. Simply knowing this hope instilled in her such conviction that she could live among the hopelessness of skid row. And not just live among it, but thrive in it.
It suddenly made so much more sense. This was truly the hope for humanity. The single thing that could redeem it from the seemingly impending fate of hopelessness and death. The idea that we could live in this manner, that this view of life made any sort of simple task a ministry in itself, made all the difference. And when even a few people take this to heart, the world begins to change in a powerful way. After all, this change has been in progress for over two thousand years. It began with the powerful catalyst of the resurrection of man and a God who believed in humanity. Who ignored what looked like irreversible destruction. Who chose to believe in fickle and easily misguided people to help carry out His plan by simply living their lives trying to reflect His love, grace and glory.
This is the fate of humanity. And it’s not so bad after all.
Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth! Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts. May the Lord cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues. They say, “We will lie to our hearts’ content. Our lips are our own—who can stop us?”
The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.” The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.