It’s been a hard couple of weeks to be an American, to be a human, to be a Christian. Tragedy has struck families and communities in Michigan, Louisiana, and Dallas. Innocent people were terrorized in Bangladesh and nearly 300 lives lost in Baghdad at the hands of terrorists. And I know the list doesn’t end here.
It’s easy to ask “why” and “how” when we read headlines and see videos of senseless tragedy, hate, anger and death. It paints a grim picture of the world we live in and feelings of doubt and worry over the future our children will inherit.
I know many Christians who feel the world no longer offers hope for change, or they feel things can only get worse, and they have started predicting, and even praying for, the end times.
But I’m just gonna say it out loud: I hope they’re wrong.
That my fellow Christians praying for Jesus to come back tomorrow, don’t get to see it in their lifetime. And here’s why:
In the midst of the tragedy and loss, I still see hope.
At the perimeter, in the headlines, we live in a dangerous world where evil gets center stage and every morning you hold your breath waiting to hear what horrible tragedy struck overnight. It’s hard to have faith that anything will ever change, that evil will ever be destroyed or at least slowed down.
But on the inside, below the headlines, in communities and homes and hospitals and churches, there is another story. It is a story where volunteers rally around grieving families who have lost their homes, possessions, and loved ones, providing for their basic needs.
It is a story where children are selling lemonade to raise money for cancer research and teens are spending their summer vacations serving in impoverished communities to build churches, teach the Gospel, and share love.
It is a story where marriages are being restored, friendships repaired, and forgiveness is offered in abundance.
It is a story of hurting, lost people finding healing through a community that loves and supports them in the name of Jesus Christ.*
These are the real stories I see Every. Single. Day. And I am filled with hope.
They are not attention-grabbing, headline-stealing stories. They are not even stories of hundreds of lives and hearts being changed in a single week. They are about one at a time: one life given to Christ, one heart healed, one relationship restored.
There’s an old song that we used to sing at summer camp every year when I was kid. I’m pretty sure they still sing it.
“It only takes a spark to get a fire going.
And soon all those around can warm up from its glowing.
That’s how it is with God’s love.
Once you’ve experienced it, you spread His love to everyone.
You want to pass it on.”
On the inside, in our schools and churches, homes and communities, there is a glow, a radiating warmth. It is not extinguished in the midst of tragedy, loss, pain, and anger, but rather it becomes a beacon of light and promise.
Because a candle burns brightest in darkness.
And there are so many who are called and driven, with a sense of urgency, to spread that light, not because of their own desire or goodness, but because The Light is so brilliant it cannot be contained.
There are more lives yet to be touched, healed, warmed, welcomed, comforted and loved. There is still so much work to be done. I believe God is entrusting us, using us to do more for Him before it is all over.
And I am filled with hope for the future.
*The examples in this post are based on real people and events I have witnessed in just the last 6 months.