". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


A Message of Hope from Kirk Cameron and Riley Gaines: Setbacks Lead to Spiritual Comebacks

April 2, 2024

Some verses that Christians commonly refer to in times of struggle include Romans 8:18, where the Apostle Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” In another popular verse, John 16:33, Jesus states, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

There are countless passages in Scripture that affirm the fact that Christians will face persecution and trials, in addition to the inevitable discomfort of living in a fallen world. But more abundant are the biblical proclamations of victory that no matter our circumstances, we serve a King who has already won. And these truths are always vital to remember, but especially in a culture that slanders and attacks those who speak the truth.

Actor Kirk Cameron and former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines have bravely decided to use their platforms to proclaim truth — but not without experiencing their fair share of backlash. Both figures were invited on The Washington Times’ podcast “Higher Ground” to discuss their experiences fighting for truth in our hostile climate, as well as the hope that can be found within the storm.

When Gaines, who was 20 at the time, decided she had to speak out against the 6’4” trans-identifying swimmer Lia Thomas, she had no idea what was in store for her. “[L]et me be very clear on the stance that I have taken [on] the gender ideology movement,” she said. “What I’m saying here is there are two sexes. You can’t change your sex, and each sex is deserving of safety, privacy and equal opportunity.” This is the biblical and scientific conviction Gaines fights for every day. “But merely for saying that and for standing for objective truth,” she pointed out, “You are met with some of the most violent, hateful attacks you could possibly imagine.”

The former University of Kentucky All-American explained how what started as “merely name-calling” quickly escalated into physical altercations, stalking, being held for ransom, and threats of violence against her and her family. “I’ve been in multiple scenarios where I have wholeheartedly feared for my life,” Gaines said, sighing. “They want you silent so desperately,” and she admitted she was “naive” to have felt in the beginning she was “immune” to being affected by the cultural bullies.

Cameron chimed in, explaining that Christians “understand that the heart is sick and desperately in need of healing from within.” This is the central drive behind the intolerance and anger seen from cancel culture. They need their hearts to be healed, Cameron urged, “And it’s God who does that. God … heals the heart and ... soul,” and He gives us “eyes to see the truth and ears to hear it.”

As he went on to explain, we live in a society consistently “drifting away from God and from His Word in the Bible.” And what’s the result? “We end up calling good evil and evil good,” Cameron stated.

He continued, “We’re prisoners and enslaved to the worst forms of ourselves. And people will take advantage of others in the name of doing good to advance their own agenda. And what we need to do is get back to curing the root problem, which is the heart, and then the fruit of the nation and society will begin to be sweet again.”

But the question, host Billy Hallowell asked, is why have so many grown silent? Adding, “You don’t get to this place if people are speaking out.” In Cameron’s opinion, it’s as simple as fear. “We’re afraid of what people are going to say. And worse, what people might do.”

He emphasized, “We all feel fear. It’s a natural response when we think something bad [is] going to happen to us.” But to counter fear, he said, we must commit to being courageous, because “courage is a decision.” And it’s choosing courage and bravery that “begins to wake other people up,” he said. Seeing an act of bravery from one person helps others “come out of this frozen prison of fear and say, ‘Wow, … if somebody else can do it, I can do it.’ … And that’s where you see strongholds being broken and … revivals begin to happen. Great awakenings take place. And everybody knows, God knows, we need one of those in our country right now.”

The opposite of that courage, Cameron pointed out, is the intolerant mobs who are “regressing back to barbaric, pagan … [and] animalistic tactics to get what [they] want.” And it’s because, Cameron said, “if you rip the root that nourishes all these good values out of the ground — and that route is those biblical values — … you’re not with the law of the land anymore. You’re back with the law of the jungle.” Which is why Hallowell said, “Christians need to be involved in every area.”

And so, in these dark realities of society, where is the hope?

Well, as Gaines reminded everyone, “We know the outcome, right? … We know who has already won the war.” Knowing that Jesus claimed victory on that cross “is what keeps a smile on my face,” she said. “That’s why I can do this with an incredibly light heart. That’s why I’m grounded. That’s what propagates me forward.” And referencing Romans 8:18, she explained that “the present sufferings, the name calling, whatever it might be, it pales in comparison when you know what you’re fighting for and more importantly, who you’re fighting for.”

On top of that, Cameron said that looking back at history is what encourages him. “History gives me great hope because I see that there is a story that is playing itself out and the Author is amazing. History is His story, the story of God from the very beginning to the end.”

He continued, “The tsunami wave of God’s goodness and His providence is behind us, and we’re moving in the flow of that current. And … at the end of the day, goodness and truth is growing. It’s not shrinking.” Ultimately, “it’s times like this where I believe we experience national setbacks that turn out to be divine setups for spiritual comebacks.”

But above all things, “God is a promise keeper. God … never lies and has never failed to keep a promise,” Cameron cheered. “He says He’s working all things together for good for those who love him,” and that is something all believers can cherish until the day we see Him face-to-face. And to conclude, Cameron put emphasis on the example of David we have in Scripture. He said, “[David] understood that Goliath wasn’t the giant. There was one who dwarfed Goliath, and that was the God of heaven, the Almighty, who fought on his behalf because David’s heart was surrendered to him.”

For us today, it’s crucial to understand that Big Tech, Big Hollywood, Big Pharma, and Big Sports are not the giants. Rather, Cameron underscored, “We have someone who dwarfs all of them, and He’s on our side.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.