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In times of bad news, faith offers comfort & hope for better days

In times of bad news, faith offers comfort & hope for better days

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BRISTOL, Tenn. — How about a little good news today?

Soul-deep into a worldwide pandemic, we may seem as inundated with depressing reports from the news front as Noah was with water.

So many turn to their faith for relief. Anyone can do likewise. Whether Christian or Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, Jew or even gentile — one’s faith can help maintain the press of good news within oneself. Take the Holy Bible. Yeah, there’s palpable death and unfathomable destruction, but love ultimately prevails as messages of better days lie ahead.

“With so much bad news around, we need good news,” said Lawrence Bell, of Bristol, Tennessee. “It jumps right out at me, the good news.”

Good news nearly does leap right from the stage of the LampLight Theatre in Kingsport.

LampLight’s new production, “And God Was Watching,” details evangelist Billy Wayne’s life and family. The show opened recently. It continues each Friday through Sunday during the next two weekends. From travails to triumph, it’s a good news production.

“It’s a life change,” said Wayne, founder and president of Billy Wayne Ministries. “It’s literally from the dark to the light. That’s the good news.”

“The show is me,” Wayne said. “The good news is, God comes to where we are. He meets us where we are. He met me where I am.”

Safe to say that most if not all people fail to feel exultant when consuming daily news of political strife, societal divides, crime and so forth. Depressing, typically. Heartening, rarely.

Cobble dire economic circumstances with fears relative to the coronavirus. Impacts can cripple.

“Money’s short. People’s jobs are lost,” Bell said. “It’s rough. The world is in turmoil, but it would really turn to hell in a hand basket without some good news.”

So many turn to church. Sundays in the pews can renew one’s outlook from that of a doubter to that of the hopeful.

Alas, droves of churchgoers nationwide as well as in Bristol have not or rarely attended church services on site during the onslaught of the pandemic. That includes Bell.

“I love church. It’s something I look forward to,” Bell, a longtime member of Lee Street Baptist Church in Bristol, Virginia, said. “It makes my day. It makes my week. It makes my month. It’s healing. Just the fellowship is great. It’s why I miss church so much.”

Bell elaborated. Many are the times in the immediate aftermath of attending church, feelings of positivity and goodwill bathe his and others’ thoughts and approaches. Empowerment can occur.

“Definitely,” Bell, 73, said. “I feel like I’m armed for whatever comes. I feel more secure. I’m ready. I can handle whatever comes along, whether it’s bad news or good news.”

Look into the Bible. Numerous verses therein cast brilliant light upon aspects of what classifies as good news. Words of optimism emerge like rainbows after the rain.

“Like cold water to a weary soul,” as related in Proverbs 25:25, “so is good news from a distant land.” Most prominently, John 3:16 proclaims: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Hope lives. The good news isn’t an exclusive country club, entry into which but a few can pass. Hope and good news exists for all.

“Matthew 25:40 — we are built on the least of these,” Wayne said. “That’s the good news.”

Finding good news may seem akin to finding Waldo on a Wall Street Monday. Turn to newspapers, magazines, television and movies, too. Though oftentimes deep in the bowels of the day, it’s there.

Likewise the Bible, Wayne said. It’s the word of God, whose love of his children never wavers. Good news as expressed in Scripture has endured centuries of pandemics and viruses, epidemics and diseases, wars and villains, even doubt and doubters.

“God always got it right, the good news,” Wayne said. “The good news is for everybody.”

Tom Netherland is a freelance writer. He may be reached at features@bristolnews.com.

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