We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19a, NIV
For people living in deep material poverty, long-term hope is often hard to find. Day-to-day decisions focus on what’s needed for this day. How will we put food on the table for dinner tonight? How can I afford the book my child needs for school this morning? How can I get the medicine I need so I can get back to work today? Hopes for the future – a stable income, better education for our children, better health – these are often traded in for the short-term goal of making it through today.
Hope – real, lasting hope – changes the way we see the world and the way we live. And evidence of hope is seen in little things.
This summer, while in a materially-poor settlement accompanied by a mission team from HRBC, I heard the simple sound of hope – the sound of chickens clucking. I peeked around the corner of a house to glimpse a small coop and chicken yard, with lively chickens running around. It took me a moment to realize why I was so surprised – most chickens don’t live long in these places!
We’ve heard countless stories of organizations all around the world that come into materially-poor villages with live chickens, new coops, and a plan to teach these people to raise the chickens for eggs. When they come back a few days later, the chickens are gone… cooked for a family feast. It’s hard to convince someone who’s struggled their whole lives just to have enough food for today, that they should save these chickens so they can have eggs tomorrow.
We can’t “fix” material poverty by just giving things – it requires healing of spirit and new ways of thinking. The simple sound of clucking chickens is evidence that this family has hope for tomorrow. That hope has changed the way they live. That sound is a sign – to them and to the world – that things are changing.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we have a great hope – a hope that’s based on God’s promise, which is eternal and true. That hope will be evident in little things – the words we use, the moments we choose to stop instead of passing by, a response of trust in God despite our circumstances. Where are the little evidences of hope in your life? How are you sharing that hope with others?
Jon and Tanya Parks
CBF Field Personnel serving in Kosice, Slovakia