The photo above was taken by Kevin Carter. It won a Pulitzer Prize and was awarded Picture of the Year by The American Magazine. Disturbing, isn’t it? It depicts a Sudanese child on the brink of starvation and a vulture waiting for a meal. How can one look at that picture and see anything other than misery? It just makes you sick at your stomach, doesn’t it? But, I can see hope. Can you? It’s hard to see at first, but it’s there. I see an innocent little girl who will see better days. I see suffering, but I also see hope—hope that eternity will be very different for this beautiful child who was made in the image of God. Some people might look at this picture and say, “Where’s God? How can He sit idly by and let this happen?” I see it differently. I see the grim reality of living in a fallen world, and I know what the Bible says about that. The Bible says that better days are ahead. I see a picture like this and I can’t help but recall the words of the apostle Paul:
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom. 8:18).
Can you see it? It might seem crazy, but that’s what hope does. It ruins you. Once you experience hope, you’re forever changed. Once hope gets in you, you can no longer look at life the same way. When God’s vision becomes your vision, you see things differently. You can get up, put two feet on the ground, and keep moving forward, even though for the first time in 50 years, you’re alone. You can laugh, even though cancer has invaded your body. You can sing, even as they’re lowering your loved one into the ground. There’s a smile with the tears. There’s a joy with the sorrow. There’s a calm in the storm. Because there’s hope. And with hope comes a change in our perception.
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (Rom. 8:24 & 25).
I pray that hope ruins you. I pray that, in the midst of trials and heartache, all you can see is better days ahead.