Jim Denison on the Power of Joy in Hard Times

In a week filled with bad news, let’s look at some good news.

Actor Danny Trejo helped rescue a baby trapped in an overturned car in Los Angeles last Wednesday. Video shows him at the scene where two cars crashed. He says he crawled into the wrecked vehicle from one side but couldn’t unbuckle the child’s car seat from that angle.

Another bystander, a young woman, was able to undo the buckle. Together, they pulled the baby safely from the wreckage.

The same day, a man who became wedged between rocks in the Cambodian jungle was rescued after being trapped for nearly four days. He slipped Sunday while trying to retrieve his flashlight, which had fallen into the small rocky hollow. His family began searching for him when he didn’t return after three days.

After his brother found him, about two hundred rescue workers spent ten hours chipping away the rock that pinned him. He was freed and taken to a local hospital.


Why did these stories make the news?

People help people all the time. If the unnamed woman in Los Angeles had rescued the baby without the actor’s help, I doubt her story would have made headlines. If the man in Cambodia had been lost in a jungle rather than wedged between rocks, his rescue would probably not have been reported globally.

I also wonder if these stories would have received so much attention during a week not dominated by mass shootings and their aftermath. We’re attracted to celebrities and unusual events, of course. But when they bring us good news during hard days, they’re especially powerful.


Anxiety continues to escalate in America, especially among young people. According to recent data, nearly half of college students surveyed “felt overwhelming anxiety over the previous year.” A third “had problems functioning because of depression.”

Multiple false reports and hoaxes about active shooters have spread around the country following last weekend’s tragedies, sparking widespread fear for personal safety in public places. Crowds panicked in Times Square after a motorcycle backfired, igniting fears of another shooting. USA Today‘s headquarters were evacuated after reports of a person with a gun that turned out to be false. A mall in Utah was evacuated for the same reason.

But fear and anxiety are more pervasive than this week’s news and not confined to tragedies such as last weekend’s shootings.

Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore was asked by Newsweek to explain the distress of our days. He replied: “I think fear is a universal human condition. So in that sense, I don’t think it’s new. . . . I think right now there’s perhaps a different kind of fear as it relates to a fear of disconnection.

“I think the loneliness that we see around us is amping up a sense of being under siege. And I think that’s one of the reasons why we see this drive toward herd mentalities on social media. People are finding a sense of belonging digitally because they can’t find it personally. And that tends to manifest itself in terms of outrage rather than in terms of intimacy.”

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Source: Christian Headlines