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Military historian John Keegan reflects on the impact of the first World War, and how in July 1917 some 70,00 British were killed and another 17,000 wounded in ‘The Somme’. His summary of the consequence of war was that it marked the end of an age of vital optimism in British life that has never been recovered.
The phrase ‘vital optimism’ reminds me of fresh hope: a quality of spirit that builds confidence and assurance that God is Sovereign, over all and in all, despite the extenuating circumstances impacting our lives in a given season.
I can’t help feel that the seismic changes and challenges within our world have precipitated a level of societal anxiety evidenced by a propensity to label one another into boxes or cohorts depending on our political persuasions or ideological biases. It seems we constantly skip across the surface of life, fixated on issues only momentarily whilst we lose sight of the deeper, more important values and relationships of life itself.
Perhaps being adventurous requires us to stop more often and use the deeper gifts of wisdom, faith and discernment. Perhaps it’s time for the re-emergence of humility and soul friendship towards one another. Whilst the days are challenging, I remain vitally optimistic that to be a disciple in the Kingdom is to believe for the restoration and redemption of all peoples despite our petty differences. Romans 12:12 comes to mind. May your hope keep you joyful, patient in affliction and praying earnestly at all times. As you serve Jesus in your community may you model a deeper story that reflects the Christian journey.
Dr Andrew Ball