Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hope Is Coming {When Tragedies Abound}

The past few weeks have been breathtakingly tragic.  Internationally, nationally, locally - there is pain all around.  21 Christians murdered for their faith, two babies lost their lives at the hands of their own parent(s), reports of 45 innocent people burned alive, a dear friend lost her hard fought battle with cancer, tragic vehicle accidents that have left families at a sudden & irreparable loss.  And I didn't even have to Google those, they were just the things that came off the top of my head. It seems there is no shortage of heartache these days. Everywhere we look there is loss, heartbreak, violence, disease, war, abuse, death and tragedy.

So, what are we to do? How can we as Christians look to a world that is hurting and tired and begging for anything but another trite Romans 8:28 quotation? Don't get me wrong, I believe that God does in fact "work all things together for the good of those who love Him". I believe all scripture to be real and absolute truth - but spouting scripture and clichés at an unbelieving world does nothing to ease the pain or comfort the loss of those who don't believe.  So again I ask, what do we say? What do we do? As a Christian, it's so hard to know. And at times like these, it's exhausting to try.   There never is a "right" thing to say, never the perfect answer to the question of "Why?".

I don't have all the answers. I find at times like these, I may not really have any, but I do have one thing. The one thing that a hurt & dying world desperately needs more than any other. Hope.  I have hope in Jesus Christ and His undying love for ALL.  It is the one thing that we as a Christian community should emote and be shining into the world.  No one is beyond His reach. No one is beyond His love.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 NKJV

How appropriate that we are entering the Easter season.  Thousands of years ago another tragedy was beginning to unfold.  There was loss, heartbreak, violence, abuse, hatred and wrath poured out upon one man and there was no one to answer the "Why".  There was only confusion and hopelessness as  those that loved Him tried to make sense of a tragedy that rocked their world.  But even though they had no answers, even though they were lost and grief stricken, even though their faith was shaken - there was a plan.  Hope was coming.

And so, I encourage you to carry on this message. Hope is coming.  We see glimpses of it in new life, the kindness of a stranger, the rescue of girls that have been enslaved and abused, a local woman with new lungs, candlelight vigils for the uplifting of another, and all the unsung heroes we meet daily.  Hope is real and tangible and the world is begging for just a hint of it.  That is what we can do.   We can share the Hope of Christ.  Hope is the antidote to fear.  Hope shines the light of truth into the darkest of places and Hope will carry us through. 

So count your blessings and tell someone about them.  Lend a hand to your neighbor and pray for your enemy.  Stand out, be different, be courageous and share with the world what you can...Hope.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit."  Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV

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