We live in a violent world, seemingly broken beyond words but is all hope lost?
A look at today’s headlines tells of terror attacks, government wrongdoing, and an economy that is in deep trouble. I have heard others say these are dark times we are living in and indeed they are.
An Unexpected Discovery
Several years ago I was asked to write a devotional for a Christian publication based on the movie, The Hunger Games. The movie is an adaptation of Suzanne Collins book of the same name.
At the time I had not watched the movie. In fact, I had put this movie on my “do not watch” list. The concept of a film about children killing children was just too dark, too gruesome.
I was wrong. I watched the movie in preparation for my writing assignment. It got inside me and held my imagination captive. The characters stayed with me after I finished watching.
There is no question that The Hunger Games is a dark and violent movie, but I also found it to be a story about hope. Hope in a dark world.
Dark Times Surround Us
The movie follows the exploits of the lead character Katniss and is set in a post-apocalyptic United States, now called Panem,
It is a dark, heartbreaking world of those that have and those that have not. A world where the poor are made hungry to feed the excess of the wealthy, a world where violence is made regular and celebrated, and a world where power trumps humanity.
We are kidding ourselves if we do not see this as an indictment of today (aka George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World). The world of this movie is not that far off from the world of here and now.
But throughout the film, there is an undercurrent of hope.
The Antidote For Fear
At one point in the movie, President Snow and the Gamemaker have a discussion about why there is a winner of the games. President Snow’s answer is hope. He says, “It’s the only thing stronger than fear”.
President Snow goes on to say, “A little hope is effective, a lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine, as long as it is contained.” President Snow recognizes that Katniss, the “girl on fire” is coming to embody the hope of a better world, a liberated Panem, so he orders Seneca to “contain her”.
Small acts of kindness spark hope, and a spark can turn into a blaze.
Dandelions In Spring
Have you ever come up against impossible situations? Have you found life utterly intolerable? Katniss and the citizens of Panem certainly did.
What are the most common robbers of hope in your life (e.g., illness or pain, relationships, financial setbacks, world events)? In what people, circumstances, or things are you inclined to put your hope?
Despair comes when we believe what our eyes tell us: that when difficult circumstances play their hand, the game is over. Holding fast to hope means being unwilling to let circumstances have the last word.
At one point in the film, Katniss recalls a memory that helps lift her despair. She says, “The dandelion reminded me that I was not doomed. The dandelion in spring, the bright yellow flower that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”
Where Is My Hope?
Fear says circumstances tell us what is true about God. Hope says God tells us what is true about circumstances.
The people of Panem put their hope in Katniss, but as I finished watching the movie I pondered where do I put my hope?
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!” Psalm 42:11 NLT.
As believers in Christ, we have a reason for hope as we see God’s faithfulness on a daily basis. Even in times of trouble, we know that all things will come together for good for those who love the Lord (see Romans 8:28).
God shines His light in even the darkest places, and His power is always greater than the terrors that threaten us. He regularly sends us reminders of this hope we are assured of, even in something as simple as a dandelion reminding us winter is thawing and spring will follow.
Will you join me as we look for ways to share our dandelions and see what sparks of hope we can set ablaze today?
Are you placing your hope where you should? What steps do you need to take to stop the “hope robbers” in your life?