Jack is Back

How many of you watched the television series, 24? I got hooked about two years ago and watched season after season on Netflix. 24 captivated me. It was full of twists and turns and gut wrenching, on the edge of your seat drama! You never knew from one episode to the next who would live or who might die and the good guy wasn’t always good and the bad guy (or girl) was usually the lion, ready to pounce, decked out in sheep’s clothing.  And episode after episode, I found myself repeatedly saying, just one more, I have to know how things turn out for Chloe or Kim or Tony or Jack. I lost many a night’s sleep, because I was watching 24!

I particularly remember one episode during Season 7. Although Jack, in previous seasons, had survived being held hostage, endured major beatings, dodged bullets, and survived explosions; I was sure that this particular episode was destined to be the end for Jack. As the show began, “I am federal agent Jack Bauer, and this is the longest day of my life”, I was struck by how weak and frail and near death Jack looked. See Jack had been exposed to biochemical weapons of mass destruction and this time it appeared that all hope had been lost. There was no cure and everyone else who had been exposed had died. By episodes 17 and 18, Jack’s health was rapidly deteriorating and I was sure that this would be the one thing that would kill him. I was on pins and needles and as I anxiously gripped my husband’s arm, I’d proclaim, “Derrick, this is it. There’s no way Jack can come back from this one.”

My, oh so tolerant husband, would patiently reminded me, “Dee it’s not real.” And while I knew that the show was fictional I had such a hard time remembering this. There were actually times when I confused the fictional show, 24, with reality like quoting President Palmer as if he were in fact our current President. Derrick also pointed out something else. As the credits rolled, he also reminded me that the writers, Robert CochranManny Coto and Evan Katz cared about Jack as much as I did, well maybe even more since Jack was their livelihood. So since the show was not going off the air anytime soon, I should be assured that Jack would surely live. And what do you know, Jack lived to see another season!

What a reality check. See, the authors knew the end of the story. The authors had the power to write a story of life or death. The power to change the fate of the characters. And this caused me to reflect upon my own journey as an author. Did the name “Sue” match the personality of one of my character’s? No problem. I could simply change her name to “Lindsey”, which better suited her bubbly, nature-loving, millennial personality. Was Seth coming across as too perfect? No problem. I could write in such a way to cast doubt regarding his impeccable characterization. Would Alex leave her husband? Would Barb find passion over 60? Would Shula strangle her mother? As the author, I have complete control over the story being told.

Reminds me of another author. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2. Do you get it yet? Are you shouting yet? Well, I for one am. See, Jesus knows the end of the story; the end of your story and the end of my story. He knows that satan is defeated and that He has the victory. And as the author of our stories, He has the ability to erase our mistakes, to give us a new name, and to transform our character. I, you, we have the privilege of living happily ever after!

This should give you HOPE. Despite all the doom and gloom and the agony and tragedy, we can have HOPE! Clinton or Trump as President --- Doesn’t matter. There’s HOPE. Violence and hatred --- No matter, for we have HOPE. Racism and poverty --- Thank God, there’s still HOPE. So don’t be discouraged. Don’t be afraid for the Bible’s filled with promises of HOPE (Romans 8:24 and 15:13, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 39:7, Proverbs 10:28).

Another remedy to dealing with the most recent tragedies is to share HOPE. How you might wonder? Glad you asked. Here are a few suggestions for sharing HOPE with others:

  • Share Your Story: Everyone has a story to tell. Whether it be a story of triumph or overcoming hardship, you have a story and your story may be the very thing that helps someone else. Sharing your story emphasizes the goodness and the miracles of God. Tell someone how God worked in your life and how He can work in theirs too.
  • Dress the Part: If God’s done anything for you and if He’s blessed you in any way, than you should be over the moon, deliriously happy. And this joy should bubble up and spill over. You’re a child of the King, with a promise for victory, and your appearances should reflect such. People should see you and say, “There’s something different about so and so. I want whatever she has.” Attract them to you like bees to honey and then share HOPE in a bright future.
  • “Tweet” It From the Roof Top: Be honest. You spend lots and lots of hours engaged in social media. Well think about using your platform to share messages of HOPE. Share Bible texts of God’s promises for His people. Send an encouraging word to someone who is struggling. Be a voice of positivity and love and HOPE!
  • Pay It Forward: Someone once asked me, why I give so much to others. And my reply was/is simple. I give because someone helped me and it’s only by the grace of God and the kindness, the compassion, the generosity and love of others that I’ve made it up from where I was to where I am today. The saying, “We’re all one paycheck away from being homeless” is so true. Living on the street, not having enough to eat…that could easily be anyone of us. So think of ways to help someone else. Share a smile, assist financially, befriend the hurt and the lonely, lend a listening ear, and most importantly, share HOPE.

I’m so glad that Jesus is the author and finisher of my story and knowing that He’s the author and finisher of your story, should fill you with HOPE to. Desmond Tutu once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness. Won’t you be a source of light today?

Supporting Bible Texts:

  • Romans 8:24 For we were saved with this hope in mind. Now a hope that can be observed is not really hope, for who hopes for what can be seen?
  • Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
  • Psalm 39:7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
  • Proverbs 10:28  The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.

Reflection Questions:

  • What are your thoughts about the text, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2?
  • Does knowing that your future is secure give you Hope? If so, how might you live your life differently, one the other side of despair?
  • How might you share HOPE with others?