“I’ve got bad news.” Is there a worse phrase than that? Whether the bad news is something small (you need new tires and brakes), or big (the test came back positive) to hear these words changes our day and sometimes the rest of our lives.
But the feeling of “bad news” isn’t something you only get from middle of the night phone calls and rare trips to the doctor. Rather, we are inundated with bad news. If you want to have a really crummy evening, just sit down in your favorite chair and turn on cable news for a few hours. While you watch, grab your laptop and scroll through your Facebook or twitter feed. Click on every link that pops up about hypocrisy, government, corruption, greed, etc… It is enough to make you want to quit life.
But the truth is, all this bad news is a lie. Now, I don’t mean that these news stories are made up or that corruption isn’t happening. Rather, the overwhelming nature of all this bad news gives us a very skewed view of life. If there is a shooting in the city where I live, it will lead the news for days on end. But, if there is no shooting the news will not begin with “Not one person shot in Abilene today!” Improvements in living conditions in our world don’t receive near the same press as difficulties, and people getting along does not sell ad copy like war and violence must.
But all the bad news is also a lie on a deeper level. What we tend to focus on is the problem, the bad thing. Rarely do we give time to the amazing things that happen to fix those problems. By doing so I think we spend too much time on Sin, and not enough time on God. We are fixated on disease rather than health, hurt rather than healing, and bad news rather than the gospel.
Here is an example: If God made it rain money from the ceiling of a little, poor church, we would all shout for joy and call it a miracle. But the greater miracle is God changing the heart of a selfish, greedy person to the point where they become generous. In reality, this greater miracle happens fairly often. Yet we are not amazed or in awe. In fact, we don’t even recognize it as a miracle, if we notice it at all. Rather, the bad news just continues to roll over us and the changed heart goes unnoticed.
Well, I am on a mission to no longer allow myself and those around me to miss the amazing things happening around and especially within us. The bad news is out there, but the good news is breaking in. Here is a little from the past couple of days.
Monday, at a basketball game, a friend of ours offered our four year-old daughter a banana. The second she got the fruit, she broke off some and began looking to give it to her two year-old brother. Good news.
Sunday at church, we wept with a man whose wife had suddenly passed away the night before. On the spur of the moment we took up a special collection for him. Although there were only about 90 people present, and many of them can barely make it to the end of the month on their income, generous hearts gave over $1200. Good news.
Last night, I gathered with friends and strangers to learn the gender of a baby that will soon enter our world. This is bigger than just a pregnancy, it has been a struggle. But to see that sonogram photo and the joy on the faces of the parents to be…wow! Good news.
Just this morning as I was getting in my car to head to work, my oldest son was running up our street in shorts and a t-shirt (it is very cold and windy this morning). I yelled, “what are you doing?” in a very sarcastic tone. He told me he was taking out the trash when he noticed that the trash can of our neighbor down the street had blown over. So he went to set it up. Good news.
These may seem small. Inconsequential. Like they couldn’t possibly put a dent in the darkness of our world. But that is not so. They are light. They are salt. They are changing hearts and transformed souls. They are the kingdom of God. They are gospel. They are good news. They are amazing!