“The Audacity of Hope”

It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gon’ come.”

This song, written and sung by the incomparable Sam Cooke, was released in 1964 as Blacks in America were embroiled in the fight for equality and justice. Our people were experiencing the full weight of state violence, domestic terrorism, and sanctioned segregation. How could Cooke write these words, or even sing them with such conviction? Progress was slow. Blacks in America were suffering. Dr. King’s dream seemed to be deferred.

Yet, although justice proved elusive, and the American dream looked more like a nightmare, our ancestors and elders continued to believe. They believed that a change was going to come. They had hope. Neither Bull Connor’s dogs, nor the violent beating of the fire hoses could rob them of their most prized possession: their hope. They believed that their protests would yield results. It was this hope that pushed them to keep on walking, keep on talking, and marching on to freedom land.

HOPE IS RADICAL

To have hope is to maintain a reasoned expectation. The greatest threat to our hope is time. Waiting is hard. When you’re impatient like me, waiting can be really hard. It’s hard continuing to hope for liberation when you continue to see new instances of injustice on a weekly basis. It’s not easy to believe that better is possible when you see the pervasive pain and systemic oppression that dominates our communities. Maybe the seemingly unending COVID-19 pandemic has drained you of your hope in embracing your friends and loved ones again.

This Black History Month, it’s hard to find reasons for hope. In 2021, the Black maternal mortality rate continues to terrorize our women. There is still 10 times the wealth in White America as there is in Black America. Homes owned by African Americans continue to be undervalued. Police are still more likely to stop a Black driver on the road. The former President could incite a violent insurrection in an attempt to delegitimize the voices of Black voters and face no repercussions for his involvement. When this is your reality, it’s hard to have hope.

I get it.

But here’s the thing: Our hope isn’t in the idea of something happening. Our hope isn’t in our efforts. Our hope is in a person.

When your hope is in Jesus, you always have a reason to believe.

Psalm 27:13 says, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living.”

When your hope in the systems of this world grows weary, remember the faithfulness of God. Our hope is not in carnal things, but rather, our hope is in Jesus. So, be encouraged family. We are living in difficult times, and there are many reasons to give up. I want to encourage you, to remain confident in our Savior. We must continue to hope in a better future. We must hope for liberation. We must hope for justice. Don’t let this country rob you of your hope. Let us not give into despair. Keep marching, loving, working, serving, protesting, and worshipping. May hope forever fuel your fire.

Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but I still choose to believe God.

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