Perhaps We Can Change the World…?
How do you change the world?
I’m not really sure… but I think it might be just by loving, listening to, and speaking truth and hope and encouragement to one broken, messed up soul at a time.
I am in Hollywood this weekend for a conference. Earlier today, while looking for a place to grab a bite to eat with my girlfriends, I was walking on the main strip where celebrities’ stars line the sidewalk of Hollywood’s famous “Walk of Fame.” And this evening we all gathered in the Dolby Theatre and sat in seats that, for better or for worse, world-changers sit in for the Oscars every year. And right this moment I am typing away from my hotel that looks out upon the famous “Hollywood” sign up in the hills.
And do you know what I can’t seem to shake? Ever since my friends and I were walking downtown to find food before the conference began, I cannot shake the enormous sense of pain and hopelessness and brokenness I perceived all around me among the mass quantity of people enjoying their Friday afternoon.
There was a young man who sat stone-faced in a metal chair and stared blankly at the throngs of people passing by him. His face was painted puke green and he was wearing a zombie outfit. There were two scantily-clad women dancing suggestively in the window of the Hard Rock Cafe, their bodies on display for all to see. There was a young mom— maybe not even yet 20— pushing a tiny little baby girl in a stroller; she wore a thick layer of makeup and was dressed to the nines, yet I didn’t sense even an ounce of joy or self-confidence exuding from her. There was a man in a Spiderman costume, and one dressed like the Black Panther, and several who looked like they might be from Pirates of the Caribbean. Some of them seemed to be doing nothing more than inviting people to hug them or take selfies with them. There were several people trying to hand me invitations to a party at Justin Beiber’s house or to some show that was going on later in the evening. There was a woman about my age selling touristy keychains and magnets and mini Oscar trophies from a kiosk on the sidewalk; when I bought some trinkets from her to take home for my kids, her drooping shoulders and deep sigh told me she was exhausted.
Each of the people I saw this afternoon was a real person with a real life and a real story behind how they got to where they are today. I’d bet that each person I saw has at least one wound that they’re still trying to find healing from, some question that they still want an answer to, some relationship that still leaves them feeling unsettled or uneasy or vulnerable in some way.
Don’t we all?!?
As I walked that brief stretch of sidewalk today I was struck once again with how very much this world needs God. They need the real, true, God of the Universe— the One who made them on purpose and who loves them and gave everything He could in order to reach them and to show them how much He loves them. They need to know they are not alone and that there is hope for their lives. They need to know that freedom really truly is possible. They need to know that True Love really truly exists. They need to know that someone cares. They need someone to smile at them, to genuinely want to hear about their lives, to walk alongside them and cheer them on.
They need real, true friends. And they need the real, true God who loves them.
I don’t know how to save all of those beautiful people I saw this afternoon. All I know to do is to keep loving the ones God puts in my path, keep smiling and asking “How are you?” to the ones I’ve yet to meet, and keep clinging to God with every fiber of my being as I beg Him to heal me and to then, out of that, help me bring hope and healing to the rest of the broken, messed up, longing-for-love people I encounter in my life.
There is so much work to do. So many people who still have yet to meet the good, good God I know and love. So many opportunities for me, each day, to reach out and really see the people around me. To really care about what is happening in their lives. And to really love them— right where they are at, wherever that may be.
I feel so small when I see the vast needs around me. So inadequate and “not enough.”
But I’ve been thinking… What if you joined me? What if I love the people God puts in my path and you love the people He puts in your path and we vow to pray for each other and pray for the ones we meet along the way…? What if we simply put one foot in front of the other and extended one smile and kind word after another to the plethora of hurting souls that surround us each and every day?
Maybe then… lives would change and hope would rise and healing and freedom would start bursting forth all around us…?
It’s time. All those folks I saw today? They could sure use a dose of God right about now. How about you and me be that dose…