Hope for the Handmaid

The world is one step away from a dystopia or a utopia. It all depends on your perspective, and how you seek to change the world.

Thanks to T-Mobile, I have access to Kindle Unlimited free for three months. This makes the bookworm in me very happy. I decided to read The Handmaid’s Tale, since it was #1 on the recommended list. Although the book was written in 1985, it has probably resurfaced due to the new television series that came out earlier last year. It also reminds people my age of some certain others in power at this time. No comment from me about that, except what follows below.

If you want a trip, definitely read this book. I spent the first third of the book trying to figure out what in the world was going on. It was a good thing that Goodreads had a summary of the book, that served sort of as a CliffNotes version of what I was reading. Even after that, I finished the book confused.

Although this book defies every writing technique I’m reading in books about how to write fiction and grab your reader and all that, I believe Margaret Atwood attempts to demonstrate the thoughts of someone living in a dystopia: confused, out of place, nostalgic of the past, a little crazy, trying to stay sane. I really don’t like how it is written, so I hope the TV series paints a better picture of this novel. I feel like I’m on a leash and the writer is dragging me along, withholding information from me, seeing how long I hold on before I throw the book in the trash. Oh, wait, it’s my Kindle. I have to keep it, then.

Because I have an open mind, and because the book was free, I decided to try to figure out what Atwood is trying to say overall in her tale. I thought at first that she was saying that religion, particularly Christianity, causes dystopia, but she clearly states in an interview that humanity and power in the wrong hands is what causes it.

Christian, the rest of this article is for you.

This dystopian society is the result of the Bible taken out of context. People use the Bible to get power. I wish I could say that this is uncommon in our culture, but it is not. So many of us twist the Bible to be whatever we want it to be. If we are not careful, power can fall into the wrong hands. People in power want to make the world a better place, but only by their definition of “better.” And as the Commander says to Offred, “Better never means better for everyone…It always means worse, for some” (211).

The Handmaid’s Tale is correct in that we are just vessels. Although they use even this aspect of the Bible out of context, we should be more concerned with what’s inside of us than what is outside. My challenge to all of us is to study the word of God and to lean on HIM. Jesus changed the world through his ministry on Earth, to a point where we still talk about him thousands of years later. His power is still strong over the course of humanity, because His Spirit lives in each one of us. We should fill our hearts, our minds, as vessels, with the word of God. The true word of God. And pray.

Sure, the presidency is strong. Sure, people are strong. Sure, ideas are strong. But I believe that God is stronger. As we fill ourselves with the truth of God, the wisdom of God, the love of God, we will be one step away from a utopia, because we will represent the kingdom of God on Earth to our neighbors.

As I’m reading even more of the book, I’ve discovered that there is nothing more important than Biblical community. The characters in this book are brainwashed by the powers that be. The only way to combat being brainwashed is to memorize God’s word and accept it as truth, and be around godly friends and family that can hold you accountable if you start to develop wrong thinking.

No matter what happens in this world, there’s a world waiting for us after this life. We have no reason to fear, because God has prepared a place for us in Heaven. Until then, we have a mission from God to be a light in this dark world.

If the news, or books like the one I’m reading, scares you into believing that we are one step away from the world collapsing, have hope. God is stronger, and He will use YOU to change it for the better. Except HIS definition of “better” includes better for all.


Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

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