FENTON, MI – Lake Amistad is a large lake that in some places straddles the Mexico and United States borders. The dam that stopped and controlled the flow of the Rio Grande River and subsequently created the lake was a joint effort of the two governments. Both countries knew that hundreds of acres of land and property would be consumed by the waters that would rise and cover the area when the flow of the Rio Grande was halted. The purpose was to help supply the ever-increasing water needs of Mexico and neighboring Texas.
When mapping out the proposed site it was realized that a small town would be lost to the lake. No matter how they planned or what precautions they might take that little hamlet would soon be underwater. Much discussion went back and forth, and finally the decision was made to go ahead with the project and to relocate the people. It would be several years before the move would take place and much had to be done before the reservoir would become a reality. A major dam had to be built and thousands of tons of earth had to be moved. Land had to be purchased and deeds transferred. The paper work alone would take years.
But something unusual took place during the interim. What was once a nice, neat and pretty little town began to deteriorate. The yards were no longer kept and weeds and debris accumulated everywhere. The houses went unprepared, broken windows remained open to the elements and badly needed paint was never applied. Trash was strewn about carelessly and potholes in the roads became craters. Automobiles were abandoned and left to rust where they stopped. Even though the community was full of people carrying on their daily lives, the town deteriorated and began to fall in around them.
When the leader of the community was asked why the people had allowed this to take place even though they had several more years to live there he said, "When people have no hope for the future, then they just don't care about the present." How true that is! Just look at our society today. If deep down in our souls, we don't have a hope for the future then our very lives will fall down around us. Without hope there is no present and no future. Without hope, life has no meaning. Without hope nothing really matters.
Many will question why the inner cities of our great metropolitan areas are such deplorable places. They wonder why the people of the ghettos and slums just don’t seem to care. Bony fingers of accusation are pointed at these blighted people accompanied with statements like, “They are just lazy. That is just their culture. Those kind of people will never be any different.” A life without hope always has the same effect. If there is no better tomorrow, then why care about today?
The sentiment of hopelessness is not only reflected in our decaying inner cities, but it is reflected in our entire society and especially in our youth and young adults. As believers, it is our responsibility to share the Hope that we know and possess. Hope for tomorrow and for eternity is not only a good thing, but also essential. It is our job to give the world a reason for tomorrow. We cannot turn a blind eye to the blighted urban centers of our nation. We must deliberately and specifically focus on providing help and hope to those that have been engulfed with the floods of despair. We are the possessors and proclaimers of the only hope for mankind. It is high time that we set sail on the seas of despair, and share the lifesaving love of Jesus.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." - I Peter 3:15
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.