How do we Confront the Seeming Enormity of the World’s Challenges While Remaining Hopeful?

There is so much injustice and disaster in this world. We are facing interconnected crises which are worsening one another, and at times it feels as though no one with power even cares! So how do we stay engaged in doing the work of justice? How do we avoid feelings of overwhelm and refuse to give into nihilism?  

 Remember that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice: 


One of Martin Luther King Jr’s famous speeches on racial justice included this quote – We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.  

Whilst he was talking about racial justice here, I believe this applies to all forms of justice. As Christians we know that the same spirit that hovered above the waters, freed the Israelites from slavery and called them to weave into their lives practices of care for the common good (Leviticus 25), is still at work in this world today. And so, we can hold onto hope that the as we engage in the work of social justice, we are led by the Spirit and together we can see the arc bend towards justice.  

Recognise the privilege that comes with disengaging and instead stand in solidarity with the oppressed (as modelled by Jesus):  

 ‘Hopelessness is the enemy of justice…injustice prevails where hopelessness persists’ (Bryan Stevenson) 

It can be easy to feel as though the issues are insurmountable and therefore want to give up on trying at all, however, this is an unproductive and privileged approach. To feel as though the issues of our world do not affect you is firstly untrue*, but also selfish. We do not see Pacific communities that are already facing relocation or those frontline advocates for peace & disarmament give up, they do not have the privilege to do so – for them is a matter of life and death.  

 To follow the example of Jesus is to stand in solidarity with those experiencing oppression. Jesus himself is Christ with us – He is God standing in solidarity with us humans, more specifically with a community who was experiencing a violent and oppressive empire. So, to follow this revolutionary leader Jesus, we too are called to live in solidarity: with those facing climate emergency, hunger crises, violence, exclusion and more.   

And as we do this, we are reminded that this is an act of praise and service to God. As ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (Mathew 25:40).  

Find joy in doing the work of justice:  

Engaging in social justice does not to be a burdensome, boring or depressing task. In fact, it can be something that brings great joy! There is a big community of people who are working together to see that arc bend towards justice – connect with these communities so that you can encourage and uplift one another.  

 If you have ever engaged in climate justice (or other justice) with Pacifika young people then you will not be surprised that music, dancing and laughter is a core aspect of the work. This is so important in order to not be burnt out by the journey! 

As Jesus went about his ministry he ate, sang, walked with and engaged in deep community. This work is not to be done in solitude, find those along the same journey and laugh with them as you go!  

Seek out good news stories:

 Whilst staying engaged in the unjust realities of this world, we should also be reminded of all the good that is happening! 

 Here are a few recent good news stories: 

When you are feeling the heaviness of the world is sitting in your body, move it (in whatever way you are capable) – get outside, go for a walk, see a friend, dance it off etc. This helps you keep the realities of our world in your heart and head, without letting it overwhelm you.  

Continue to do your small part: 

 Per the Talmud reflection on Micah 6:8 –  

Do not be daunted by the enormity 

of the world’s grief,  

Do justly now. 

Love mercy now. 

Walk humbly now. 

You are not obligated to  

complete the work, but 

Neither are you free  

To abandon it  

 We each have a part to play. When we each do our part, it makes it all the more achievable! 

One practical way you can do this is to sign up to our Safer World for All campaign, advocating for Australia to invest in the betterment of our world.  

And so, I urge you, please hold onto hope and do so in community. 


*Interconnected crises are affecting us all, for more information on this, you can read more about this on our other blogs or on the Safer World for All website.