In 2007, President Barak Obama began his run for the highest political office our country has to offer. A young senator from Illinois with relatively little political experience, Mr. Obama rallied a nation with the promise of “hope and change,” first defeating his Democratic rivals then winning over his Republican opponent to take the office of president of the United States.
As I look back over these last six years (beginning with 2008 when our president began his successful campaign), the thing that grabs my attention is his promise of hope and change and the way that promise has resonated with the American people.
I have no doubt in my mind that our president was sincere in his desire for hope and change, so please do not take these next words as critical; they are not meant to be. As honorable as our president’s desire for hope and change is, there is only so much he can do.
Real hope and change cannot and will not come from the White House, it will not come from the courthouse, it will not come form our congressional houses.
Real hope and change can only come from God.
You who long for hope and change, that promise of a campaign that garnered your vote, the reason that slogan resonated in your heart is deep down in your soul, you know we are broken.
One man, angry with the concept of God, said that the obvious problem of evil in our world was what kept him from believing in God. The individual to whom he had expressed this view, asked him, “I know the problem of evil in our world is difficult to answer, but let me ask you, what do you do with the evil that runs through your own heart?”
Face it: most of the pain and suffering we experience in this world is the result of our own actions. James, the brother of Jesus, put it this way, “Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that war within you. You want things, but you do not have them. So you are ready to kill and are jealous of other people, but you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight” (James 4:1-3 NCV).
Don’t believe that? You must not have read the rest of this newspaper.
Fifty years ago, a pastor named Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a stirring speech on the steps of the Lincoln memorial known as his “I have a dream speech.” Fifty years later, that speech that stirred the souls of those present and continues to stir our souls today, has done little to bring to reality the beauty of that dream.
Why? Real hope and change can only come about when the evil that runs through the human heart is tamed, and only God has the power to do that.
We may desire hope and change, we may long for the day when a person is “judged by the strength of his character rather than the color of his skin,” but until we have a real change of heart, the hope and change we long for will remain an elusive dream.
Jesus alone has the power to change your heart.
The marvelous promise of Scripture is, “Anyone united with (Christ) gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through (Christ), giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19 MSG).
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.