By Michelle Wallace
When Bono was a little boy growing up in Ireland, he saw America put a man on the moon. He said, “I thought these Americans are mad…they are mad! But I thought what could this country do? What could these people do when they put their mind to it? John F. Kennedy was the one, in 1963, who said, ‘By the end of the decade, we will put a man on the moon.’ It wasn’t because it was on everybody’s mind––it was just the right thing to do, it’ what we’re asking now. We’re asking them to do something extraordinary––not put a man on the moon. More like ‘PUT MANKIND BACK ON EARTH.’” He explained how other eras have had their movements and it was up to us to end extreme poverty. “That’s what this generation––it’s up to us––our moon shot––our putting a man on the moon––we’re going to end extreme poverty––we’re going to make poverty history. That’s what’s fallen to us to do. And I believe that is not an impossible adventure.”
Then Bono became discouraged. He grew weary in the fight. And one day from a park bench in New York, he told the Lord, “I quit.” Then a man approached him. Unaware it was Bono hiding behind a hat and glasses, he began pressuring him to buy an old newspaper. “I’ve been saving these but my wife told me I have to get rid of them,” he explained in a heavy Bronx accent. Bono finally told the guy he’d buy a paper just to get rid of him. As he unfolded the old, worn pages, he looked down to read the headline in bold caps, “MEN WALK ON MOON.” It was the New York Times from 1969! Bono quickly asked the man about the large stack of papers. He was overwhelmed to learn they were all the same paper. He bought them all.
Maybe we’ve grown weary, complacent, or just plain lazy. It seems few of us know or remember what it means to sacrifice for the greater good. I believe it’s time to stir ourselves to wonder again. The story of Nehemiah is inspiring. Nehemiah is a cup bearer. It’s his job to taste the food and drink before the king to make sure the king wasn’t poisoned. One day he learned that his people were in trouble. The place he was from was in ruins. The wall had been torn down and the gates were burned. When he heard about the suffering, he sat down and cried. Then he turned his tears to action. The opportunity came to tell the king what was going on. And the king asked how he could help. Before Nehemiah answered, he prayed, he investigated, then he asked more than a few good questions. He asked better questions. He asked for letters that would give him easy access. He was brazen enough to ask for building materials and a place to stay while he completed the restoration.
Sometimes, we hear about an issue, we’re sad, but the obstacles to bring a solution seem too big. What if we asked a better question? What if we were willing to take risks to see our families, our cities, and nations restored? You have a piece of the puzzle. None of us are called to solve all the world’s problems. But each of us holds a key to change the world. What would you do if money were no object? Maybe like Bono, you’d like to end extreme poverty. I personally believe abject poverty could be eradicated. It should be eradicated! I’m not talking about removing all poverty. Jesus said the poor would always be with us. I’m talking about the kind of poverty that leads to the senseless death of countless lives because we are unwilling to help people with their immediate needs and the greater spiritual need that will cause them to rise up from the ashes and live.
In Jeremiah 33:3 God says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” My commentary explains the word mighty is better rendered “isolated” or “inaccessible.” The suggestion is that God will give us “revelational insight,” revealing things that otherwise would be inaccessible or isolated. We might look at that and think, “How exciting to be privy to such information.” But recently the Lord drew my attention to see the purpose. The story of Jeremiah 33 is the restoration of a nation. We look at the chaos in our nation and grieve. Sometimes chaos can be divine for the purpose of bringing divine order. Let’s not judge with our eyes. We have the opportunity, like Nehemiah, like Jeremiah, like Bono, to turn our eyes to the one who has the answers. Like Bono, I believe every generation is given its challenges. We have many. However, I believe we’re entering a season of renaissance. The renaissance period is described as the cultural bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history. Every mountain of culture was affected—media, government, education, and so on. In French, the word renaissance, literally means “Rebirth.”
So again, I ask, what would you do to change the world? It begins with calling to the one who reveals great and mighty things. Who says, with man the challenges may seem impossible, with Me all things are possible.
Connect with Michelle at www.HandofTheKing.com.