The Power of Optimism
The Second World War ended with the United States of America victors over the Japanese. To mark the event, a spectacular celebration was organised in Los Angeles. Over 100,000 people were present in an enormous stadium which was entirely converted into a theatre of war. The ground shook as grenades exploded, tanks fired, various armours of war went off. Aircraft above the crowd made daring movements, causing fear but also generating a strong feeling of pride for the victorious nation. Flood lights of different colours added a realistic picture of what war can be like. Suddenly the lights went out.
The stadium went dark and absolutely silent for a while. Then a clear and imposing voice said, “Maybe you are saying to yourselves the storm around is frightening. Evil forces are decimating everything. Moral darkness has taken control of society. I am not in a position to help. My abilities are limited. I feel my light is that of a match, but what is needed are floodlights of goodness and virtue to stop the advance of evil. My answer is that you are wrong. I will prove it to you.” At that moment the speaker lights up a match, “Can you now see the light of a flame?” Everybody could see the shimmer of light in the darkness. “Suppose now, that everyone here lights up a match. Please try it.” Rustling noises were heard all over the stadium, as people tried to light a match or their lighters. Within a minute, almost 100,000 small flames filled the area with light.
War is a devastating experience, both for the victor and the defeated, leaving them in a degraded state materially as well as morally. All of this because good, sensible, responsible people felt that they could not do anything to stop the force of the coming evil. If we transpose the optimistic attitude of the speaker to the spiritual sphere, we realise that we can make an enormous difference if we have the courage to act, if we face the evil and devious forces in our environment, if we resist all these with courage. If this resistance is made by several, many, or thousands of Christian hearts, the results can be astounding. It is a mistake for young persons to condemn themselves to inactivity.
To simply criticise the wrongs of our society, Government actions, or highstanding people, solves nothing. “It is preferable to light a candle, rather than to curse the darkness,” says a Chinese proverb. What is the point of throwing stones against the huge waves, that toss the boat here and there, endangering the lives of those in it? Light a lamp in the lighthouse so the captain can avoid the rocks and save the boat and its people. Throw life jackets to the shipwrecked people. Concentrate your strength, encourage others to do the same, and you will see thousands of small flames pushing away the darkness. Remember Him who supports you, “Do not fear the little flock, for it is your Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom!” (Luke 12:32). We all know the stakes are high, but the rewards are unbelievable, both on Earth and in Heaven!
Source: Lychnos December 2018 / January 2019