Reading news headlines, it’s easy to get pessimistic about the state of world affairs. On a near daily basis, there are reports of violence, tragedies and injustice. As Christians, this should be concerning, and it should prompt us to take action to help those who are suffering.
But, we must also remember that we are called to hope. And part of that hope is recognizing not only the bad news, but also celebrating the good news.
Yes, we should stay vigilant, fight injustice and seek new ways to serve those in need in help. But fear, pessimism and misplaced outrage are the wrong approach to taking action. Instead, we are called to have “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
After all, redeeming brokenness is what Jesus was all about.
Here’s a look at nine stats that show why we should approach 2016 with optimism about the future. They aren’t reasons to be complacent about problems or issues facing communities around the world; but they’re reminders of how far we’ve come, and how much further we need to go.
You Are Living in the Most Peaceful Time in Human History
Though the global human population has never been higher, you are statistically less likely to die from an act of violence than any other time in history.
Global Hunger Is on the Decline
Though food shortages are still a serious problem, according to the U.N., 200 million fewer people currently go malnourished than 25 years ago.
In Many Parts of the World, the Infant Mortality Rate Has Never Been Lower
As a WHO report noted, the global child mortality fell rate by 49 percent between 1990 and 2013.
The Global Literacy Rate Is 84 Percent
Though hundreds of millions still lack basic literacy skills, there have been major improvements: The global literacy rate was just 66 percent in 1957.
The Bible Is Becoming More Accessible
The Abortion Rate in America Is at an All-Time Low
Both teen pregnancies and the overall number of abortions have hit record lows in the U.S.
People Are Living Longer
In the last century and a half, the global life expectancy has doubled.
90 Percent of the Global Population Has Access to Clean Water
Since 1990, 2.6 billion more people have gained access to clean drinking water. And since 2000, the number of children who died because of waterborne illnesses has been cut in half.
Future Generations May Never Experience Extreme Poverty
Though there are currently more than 1 billion people living in extreme poverty, The World Bank say they hope global economic initiatives can eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. In the last 35 years, the number of people living on less than $1.25 (adjusted for inflation) has fallen from 42 percent of the population to 16.9 percent.