When the prevalence of tragedies and injustices fall around us, the immediate temptation is to initially ask ourselves the “why” and “what” questions. “Why” does this have to happen? “What” is the purpose in all this? I’ve always wanted to try my best to answer these questions with great confidence – to try and scramble to say something that is worthy, but I’ve always come away feeling inadequate. However, it’s important to not shrink away from the task of responding to those types of questions. This is reality and I think it’s within our interest and decency as human beings to acknowledge that we are a community and our fellow brothers and sisters are hurting. So, I therefore don’t pretend to have all the answers to the horrible sufferings people endure because I don’t; and won’t pretend to. To pretend I do, to spew explanations for the sake of it, would be foolish of me – it would mean undermining the knowledge and wisdom of God, whom I worship and love. Although that doesn’t mean I can’t choose to see things from a different angle. There are so many things that we can do and I believe one thing we can start by doing is to honour the memories of the ones we’ve lost and love by living confident and productive lives!
So many tragic events have happened recently, the bombings of the two Egyptian churches on Palm Sunday, the attack in Stockholm, the St Petersburg’s attack, gas attacks in Syria; to name a few. No matter who they were, what they believed in, their lives were lost. I read about these events and although I’m initially moved to a place of dread, sympathy and sadness; I’m quickly then moved to a place of hope, love, compassion and expectation! I’m moved to a place where I simply can’t sit back and mumble ‘oh that’s so sad,” and move on. I suppose some may say “well, these things just happen” but this is real life and this is happening. Compassion requires action in every sense. We may think, “well, what can I do, these things just happen which are just beyond my control, I can’t do much; I’m just one person.” Well personally, we are much more powerful than we think, through our words, thoughts and actions and there are so many little steps we can make to achieve a revival.
We can first try start to recognize the problem for what it is, then proceed to grasp both an empowering hint from the past and then follow to have an empowering hope for the future. The key word here is hope.
I’m not writing this to give a false sense of encouragement or promise you that there won’t be any more suffering because I think we all know that’s not in any way the truth. But what I’m here to say is that we can have all the power in action moved by empowering hope. Not hope moved by obligation or a hope that you may not even believe in yourself but a hope that is confident in the best that is yet to come. I’m talking a biblical hope here. I want everyone to experience the best hope there is in this inexplicable life! I know some people approach the concept of hope with futility but I’m not talking about the hope that is expressed through uncertainty but a hope that has confident expectation and desire for something wonderful in the future.
Biblical hope not only desires something “good” for the future; it expects it to happen; it is confident that it will happen! Hope isn’t just a case of optimism – what we hope for should always be second to what – or who –we hope in! There is a calmness in the verse Psalm 39:7-8 which says; “And so Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”
The truth we must remember is that we may or may not receive what we hope for, that is the harsh truth. But, it’s to have that hope that is confident no matter the outcome. Life isn’t all dandy and rosy, we all continue to see evidence of that every day and in recent events but we have a choice – a choice to see life for all the beauty it is! That doesn’t mean looking through rose-colored glasses and living in naivety but a choice to say hope lives because our redeemer lives; a choice to say this is a beautiful life!! Hope says God has not abandoned us in the world. His story is that he pursues us, dwells in us, intervenes for us and will not forget us when He finally determines to set the world to rights.
There will be tears in our eyes, but He will wipe them away. There will be death and decay, but He will cause newness and resurrection to spring forth. While the grave remains – for now- it’s hope that erases its victory. And while death remains – for now – it’s hope that has wiped out its victory. We must choose to say that we will stand united with an attitude of ethereal compassion that will flow through our community especially this Christian community. We must share in the pain that our fellow brothers and sisters experience and then quickly proceed to choose to have an attitude of solidarity and hope for better things – where we can say ‘this is all temporary.’ This is how we can start by making a difference – it’s a movement and it starts within us from which it’ll pour outwards!
So, I begin with a prayer:
Lord, there are cries for the lives lost recently but I ultimately thank you for their lives and the overflowing love that you constantly outpour – May their souls find eternal rest. Your grace is majestic and your hope transcendent. I pray for the families left behind. May their hearts be touched by your love, the only love that heals and may they see your light, the only light that shines through the darkness; that there is hope at the end of this dark valley.
I pray for the people that carry out these atrocities; who have that mindset that they can get what they want through terror, fear and corruption. But isn’t it so crazy to think that you still love these people? But Lord, your love has no condition! I pray that you will soften their hearts so that they may see your face and stand in awe.
Help us to continue to live on in expectations of amazing things to come. To continually pour out the love that conquers all. There is one peace that transcends all understanding and that is yours and may everyone begin to experience that peace.
Love, peace and blessings,