Gabriel Heater, the popular World War II radio news commentator, started every broadcast with five powerful words: "Ah, there's good news tonight!"
Who knows the importance of his contribution to building morale at home and overseas during those difficult war years? He may have even played an important role in the ultimate victory of the forces of freedom. We could use some correspondents with Heater's positive attitude to report good news today.
While traveling, my wife and I discovered a radio weatherman who immediately captured our attention. He had up-to-the minute information on possible problems ahead so we stayed tuned. At first, we appreciated his warnings, but as time passed we began to realize this gloomy guy had picked every suspected trouble spot he could find, droning on endlessly about the possibility of natural disasters around every turn.
We finally tuned him out and still laugh about our encounter with this cloudy character. Sadly, like him, many choose to dwell continually on fears of storm clouds ahead while missing out on the sunshine they're experiencing along the way.
Is there any good news to report? Probably more than you think.
In his recent article "Doubting the Doomsayers," in Christianity Today, Philip Yancy tells about checking the facts on an anonymous e-mail floating around the Web indicating little has changed since 1980. It reported that 80 percent of the world's people still live in substandard housing, 70 percent are unable to read and 50 percent suffer malnutrition.
Yancy says his research found these figures to be far off the mark. Efforts to lift people from poverty, provide them decent housing, teach them to read, give them clean water and extend lifespans have paid off. In addition, he discovered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the teenage birth rate has declined by 30 percent in the last decade, while the abortion rate has declined by almost half. He adds such good news seldom captures the attention of the media and says he's learned to reject what he reads on the Internet and anything he hears from the doomsayers.
Does this mean everything's coming up roses?
No, but it does mean prayer and persistence are making a difference in some areas and we ought to keep on keeping on, expecting results. In the words of Paul, "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9).
Bad news bears blight. Unless we focus on the good results of our prayers and labor, we will become discouraged and accomplish little, often even turning against pastors and other church leaders because we think they're not doing enough.
Next week, Pauline and I will celebrate 54 years of marriage. Naturally, we pray for each other and one of my daily prayers for her is that she will receive good news that day. According to Solomon, good words make the hearers glad (Proverbs 12:25).
The best news of all was given by another Gabriel to Mary: news of peace, forgiveness and eternal life, all made available by faith alone (Luke 1:26-37).
Who do you know who needs a faith lift? Your wife? Your husband? Your children? Your pastor? Your parents?
Have you heard any good news lately?
If so, pass it on.
Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich. He has written more than 20 books and has had articles published in most major Christian magazines.
He was a pastor for 22 years and has been a guest speaker in Alaska churches from Anchorage to Homer.
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