Yesterday afternoon my kids and I were sitting at the table. They had homework and I so did I (just a different kind). They chattered as they worked multiplication tables and nibbled on snacks as they practiced spelling words.
Then my daughter said, “Someone at school told me that something bad happened in Las Vegas.”
One of my boys asked what happened. I didn’t want to tell them. Up until now I’ve been able to insulate them from this kind of thing. I’ve been able to protect their innocence.
Still, I knew that if I didn’t tell them, someone else would. So I explained what happened, how many people died, how many were injured. And I told them that I don’t know why the man did it because he died, too.
It was very quiet around our table.
Then one boy said, “Is that why we do lock-down drills at school? Because people do things like that?”
I told him it was. And I told him how I hated that this was the world we live in.
“Heaven won’t be like this,” my daughter said.
She’s right and I made sure to talk up hope because it’s the only way to survive this mad world. Hope is a gift that we can’t let go of.
But this cynicism in my told me, “Nothing will change. This will happen again. People will use this to push forward their pet agenda. Next week we’ll have forgotten just like we have every other time.”
Those doubts muted hope a little. Why? Because the doubts are founded in reality. We always forget. Move on. Argue why nothing can or should change. Today I read that a popular talking head called mass shootings “the price of freedom”.
I think he’s forgotten what freedom is. I think I have too.
There’s a passage of Scripture I can’t get out of my head these days. It’s what has kept me going for a long time and now especially. Jesus told His disciples that they would have trouble in this world.
Had they known the magnitude of the trouble coming their way, I wonder if they would have kept going. I hope so.
Then Jesus said, “But take heart! I have overcome the world!”
Today it’s hard to see Christ’s overcoming of the world. I’m struggling to see it. Still, I’m trying.
I know I’m not the only one.
People in Puerto Rico are suffering, there’s a genocide in progress in Myanmar, people are persecuted for their faith all around the world. We still see people who die of starvation, lack of clean water, lack of available healthcare. There is a very loud resurgence of white supremacy in several states. A friend of mine is in the hospital, fighting for her life and we’re praying for God’s mercy.
The suffering is all around us.
But take heart.
Even when the world seems to be crumbling.
When it seems there’s so much at stake. So much to lose.
Cast your cares onto the One who has already defeated death and the grave. Run the race, knowing it is already won. Throw off what holds you back because it little matters. And remember that the trouble here is only for a little time. The blink of an eye.
And in the midst of the chaos, show mercy because it has been shown to you. Love well because you are dearly loved. Lay down your life for others because Christ has laid down His life for you.
He has overcome the world.