Hopelessness often leads to talking about real hope. The political turmoil in Bangkok has shaken Thai people out of a comfort they have lived with for generations. When the global economy tanked in late 2008, the yellow-shirts were working hard to protest and throw out the elected party. The protest ramped up to closing down the Bangkok airport for a week and causing many to reconsider their allegiance with the yellow shirts after seeing Thailand lose a lot of business and tourism.
Since then, the political fight has gone back-and-forth with each side protesting the other and protesters protesting the protesters. Red-shirts support the former Prime Minister, Thaksin and his ideology for a government. Yellow-shirts support the constitutional monarchy, the government as it has been. Now, a group of multi-colored shirts from the business district basically oppose the red-shirts with their acronym on Twitter being ABR (Anything But Red).
Thai people feel the situation is hopeless. When one-side takes power, the other side will fight indefinitely until they can regain power. Round-and-round they go on this unending political merry-go-round. They have lost hope in the stability, provision and protection of their government.
We noticed in the past 15 months that Thai people have become much more receptive to the message of Jesus, so we asked the local Thai pastor at the church we serve, Our Home Chapel, what he thinks. He said that the Thai Christians can talk to their friends about what true hope is. They can talk to them about Jesus as their friends have lost hope in a good job, the economy, a government that takes care of the people and the comfortable life they have lived. I always have said when life is uncertain; people will gravitate toward something certain sure. But in talking with the pastor, I received an insight into the specifics of what the Thai people have lost in these uncertain times. We see the current time as a window of opportunity for the kingdom of God to bring light into a dark situation. I don’t mean to be glib or make this out as an easy moment, but I see an opportunity to be seized.
We have seen many more people asking questions around the church, and many of the deciding to walk with Jesus. Baptisms are more frequent. Thai people are looking for something to hold onto as chaos has unsettled their foundation. Often, difficult circumstances lead people to find a solution or something different…and they find Jesus.
Keep praying that God will make himself known in this time and bring peace to the situation. Pray for no more violence.