From Angela Pleasants -- Hope in the Midst of Tragedy
posted on August 05
Hope in the Midst of Tragedy
“Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Genesis 6:11 NASB. Has this become our new normal? We go to bed mourning the senseless loss of lives from a mass shooting. We awaken to another tragic mass shooting.
As clergy, we teach the children in our congregation to sing, “Jesus loves all the little children of the world.” And our adults sing peace in the valley. We cry out “peace, peace,” but many do not feel peace and security.
We teach Christians are a people of reconciliation. We are reconciled to God and one another. Jesus has torn down the dividing wall of hostility. Meanwhile, we live in a world that is still divided, hostile, broken, and crying out in pain. While singing Jesus loves all the children of the world, we still see children tragically killed and hate among races.
I am thankful for our first responders who are skillfully trained and always on call to respond. We continue to keep them in our prayers as we do the families who are suffering and mourning.
It is our first responders who run into the midst of tragedy. And it is the clergy the people look to for a word of hope. What will we share when our hearts are heavy, and we too are searching for answers? How can we lead when words seem empty in light of the deep wounds of the heart?
It is these moments we seek God’s inspired word. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27 NASB. The peace that Jesus speaks of giving is not the cessation of world enemies and hostility. It is the peace of being reconciled to God and one another.
Jesus speaks these words, knowing he is about to be brutally crucified. He teaches his disciples you too will go through hostility. The passage is a reminder our peace and hope is not grounded in our circumstances but God.
As Christians, we know this peace. And we extend this peace, love, and care to others, especially during times of great tragedy. We are not troubled, nor do we fear. We know our hearts grow in God’s grace. We can be strong for others and allow them to lean upon us. We are not fearful because God’s perfect love drives out fear.
Yes, we will encounter tragedy, and it will turn our world upside down. When this happens, it reminds us that something is wrong in our world. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But we find hope in that Jesus came that we might have life in abundance. When we experience the atrocious acts of violence, we also see great demonstrations of love. Be the love that others need to see during this time and always.
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” II Corinthians 4:8-10 NASB.