The news of a gunman slaughtering 21 innocents broke like another tragic wave on the shore of humanity. It left us stunned but, sadly, not surprised. The prophet Jeremiah observed mankind’s desperate state more than 600 years before Christ walked this earth, and he wrote,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) It seems nothing has changed when it comes to the evil of which mankind is capable.
Some on the shore succumb to the wave’s force, and it sucks them into a sea of hopelessness. Well-intentioned responses such as, “God will bring something good from this,” offer little solace to the one who’s drowning in despair. Sometimes a hug or a listening ear mean more.
I’ve been slow to respond on social media to this wave because I didn’t want to throw out a lifeline fraught with easy answers. Life is messy and pain is real and the waves just keep coming. So how can we respond in the face of yet another one?
I believe N.T. Wright nailed it when he wrote, “The only thing to do is to hold the spectacular promises in one hand and the messy reality in the other and praise Yhwh anyway.”
I hold messy reality in one hand: Uvalde, Ukraine, inflation, family and ministry concerns. I hold God’s spectacular promises in the other. Here are three that I’m finding particularly meaningful today.
- “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 ESV)
- “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)
- “It is the Lordwho goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV)
In the face of sorrow and unanswered questions, God’s promises restore hope. Let’s cling to them and pray through them and praise God that the story is not finished yet.
What spectacular promise brings solace to your heart today?
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