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Mindy BelzVoices Mindy Belz

Good news wins

We can do more than lead with what bleeds

Good news wins

(Jason Chute/Unicef)

You likely heard the news of unidentified drones at Gatwick and later Heathrow airports last month, forcing delays in flight takeoffs and landings while raising alarm bells for aviation safety monitors. Drones have the potential to wreak havoc but also bring good. Yet good news, we know, rarely makes headlines. 

That same week thousands of miles away, health workers successfully deployed drones to deliver vaccines in Vanuatu, a far-flung country of 80 islands in the South Pacific. Twenty percent of Vanuatu’s children have never received vaccines, according to a report in Popular Mechanics, but a drone made possible the first immunizations for 1-month-old Joy Nowai, then others. Her mother otherwise would have had to walk 25 miles to reach a clinic. 

As commercial drone companies perfect delivery of blood and medical supplies in Africa and remote areas of the United States, we want to hear these stories along with the threats and downsides.

We journalists can do more than lead with what bleeds. The world that is fallen is also in the midst of redemption, everywhere. Yet cynicism, even despair, easily can rule the day or the home page.

Good news doesn’t have to be trending to be good.

The book of Acts often reads like breaking news, giving us the sensational inside scoop on what happened to the early church following Jesus’ ascension. In detail it tells us who was present at Pentecost, what was said (on and off the record) leading to Stephen’s stoning, how bystanders became instigators, flinging their coats at the feet of some young man named Saul.

In the midst of gory news in Acts comes something unexpected. After the Sanhedrin (the Jews’ Supreme Court in Jerusalem) flogged the apostles, we read in Acts 5:41, they left the council, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” These men tended their wounds and kept right on working. 

This kind of upside-down rejoicing is a good pattern for starting a new year, or a new day any day of the year. Not the isolationist’s joy I hear from friends sometimes, who say they don’t watch news anymore, or they read just the headlines. I understand that yearning to retreat, to watch home-improvement episodes or puppy antics. Too much of what passes for U.S. news coverage these days is actually news about news, full of angles instead of straight storytelling on what’s actually happening in the world. 

But the upside-down rejoicing the apostles discovered is the deeper resilient joy that comes from cultivating first a realistic awareness of the world, then an appreciation for God at work in it. He orchestrates beauty and redemption in the midst of ugliness and evil. He takes those the world discards and calls them His. He is the kind of God who told Abram at age 99 he would be Abraham, “father of a multitude,” and his wife would bear a son named Isaac, “laughter.”

This God is at this moment raising churches out of squalid refugee camps, sending church leaders in China to prison with rejoicing, giving them songs in the night as He did for Job. It is not always headline work, but often hidden, inconspicuous, and unreported.

At the core of altered perspective we find Jesus ready to train our eyes to see, Jesus who endured, who suffered ultimately but saved abundantly, the pre-eminent resource and example of upside-down joy. This Jesus who conquered the biggest thing, death, also taught us to yearn over the smallest thing, like the one lost coin or the one lost sheep. 

The Dutch Catholic priest and author Henri Nouwen said, “God rejoices. Not because the problems of the world have been solved, not because human pain and suffering have come to an end … but because one of His children who was lost has been found.”

Good news doesn’t have to be trending to be good. Anyone who has held a newborn knows it can be one child, 1 month old, finding new health and new life in faraway Vanuatu because someone made a way to rescue her.

Comments

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Laneygirl
    Posted: Sun, 01/20/2019 04:19 pm

    Well done, Mindy. We have journeyed 15 years with World Magazine in large part because it’s the one place we can go for good news, God news!

    If readers know of another avenue, we’d love to hear it. One America News offers less opinionated, less editorialized viewpoints, but it’s still not God-oriented. 

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Tue, 01/22/2019 05:23 am

    Well said and what I yearn for. I am force fed TV at the local gym where I work out. Public TVs are on the Weather Channel, ESPN and local channels with such sensationalist quacks as Dr Oz. All of this with close captioning! This gives a curious insight into what is going on in our Western society. It is all sensationalist fear mongering and/or idiocy. Storms that now have names are about to destroy us. Dr Oz (and others of his ilk) offer plastic concern and counsel. And ESPN offers panel debates of experts, about what? Who might get the next big contract? Whether so and so must be traded and other such nonsense. And to top it off ads mostly for lawyers who will promise to make all things right when you have been wronged. And other ads for beleaguered men who just can't quite get their bedroom performance where it should be. 

    And then there is the Gospel = Good news. Jesus conquered death! We have real hope and real answers!!

    I agree. Good news, and (mostly) accurate news is hard to come by but World is where to get it. 

  • cln
    Posted: Thu, 01/24/2019 04:44 pm

    Good news is always welcome! The exception here is that it is not good news, but bad news that vaccines are being transported to other countries when they are doing so much harm and creating so much suffering here in the US. This is one topic WORLD has not done it's sleuthing on. Interviewing the parents with damaged kids, interviewing the doctors who have discovered the truth, searching out the (lack of) education doctors get on this, looking at the pub med articles which link autism with vaccines, digging into the CDC scandals, talking to congressmen who have begged for investigations, looking at the ingredients in the vaccines which include sifting through a lot of aborted tissue, the ACIP meetings in Atlanta just last October, investigating the statistics and methodologies of the VICP, Vaccine Injury Court, the failure of the HHS to follow through on safety requirements required by the 1986 bill absolving pharma of responsibility, interviewing Robert F. Kennedy, yes the possiblities of investigation are multiple and need to be done! Journalists do not like to get into this sticky mess because it is divisive, but Christians need to declare truth since abortion is definitely involved and truth is important to us.