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05 January 2018

From horror to hope

From horror to hope

Abi Jarvis is public leadership coordinator at the Evangelical Alliance. 

It’s a short story, but one I found inspiring: the BBC’s video article, ‘From slavery to Italy’s fashion world tells the story of asylum seekers who are being trained in one of Italy’s finest arts, making leather bags. When so often the news is full of stories which fill me with despair, this one gave me hope 

In the video, Bassirou lists a military coup, travelling through Libya, being imprisoned, and being treated like a slave as amongst the horrors of his ordeal. The stories of slavery in north Africa have shocked many of us; and here at the Alliance we're working with our One People Commission to call on the Government to help stop this evil trade.

But Bassirou also explains that he has hope for the future, for himself and other asylum seekers. He says that “learning a trade means they will be able to do something with their lives”. His dream is to one day, open my own atelier, work hard, and share my ideas, with others across the world”. 

The new year, with all the hopefully-to-be-kept resolutions it brings, is a good time for us to shift our perspective. So this year, I want to dream about how I might be able to make the world just a little bit better, in whatever way I can. And I want to have more faith - “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1) – that where I feel unable to do anything, God is still in control. 

This transition, moving beyond the horror of the past towards hope for the future, reminds me of Jesus' words in John 16. Jesus speaks of his death and the trouble that the disciples will experience in the aftermath but then continues: "take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). How privileged we are to know, even in the darkest of circumstances, that Jesus has already won the victory? Had I been one of those disciples, I think that in the terror that followed Jesus’ death, those words would have become a reassuring mantra. 

What news stories have moved you over the past 12 months? Is your heart is broken by something that has happened in your local community, or something that is happening thousands of miles away? Do you need to take heart and remember that Jesus has overcome the world? 

Let's follow Bassirou’s example and find the motivation to hope and to dream. 

We can’t do everything and God doesn’t ask us to. But He does invite us to be part of His redemptive plan for this world. During the past year I have met many Christians throughout society who are doing their little bit to be a voice for good and for God – Christians running ethical fashion shops or demonstrating a different style of business leadership because of their faith, Christians who seek to affect culture through the arts, Christians serving those in their local community. 

If Bassirou, despite all he has experienced, hathe hopefulness to dream of a better future, then surely we can move beyond the paralysis of reading about such experiences to think about how we might respond. 

This year, I want to dream bigger and trust God more - and I want you to do the same. How can you make a little change and further God's big plan? Or what will be your wildest world-changing dreams and how will you start on the path to get there? 


Find out more about our public leadership programme here: thepublicleader.com