While watching the news this week, did you experience the feeling that your insides were churning at the reality of all that was happening?
We turn on the TV and as if they are saying, “Tomorrow will be a high of 93”, we hear, “A shooting has occurred in Gilroy, California.”
Our stomach sinks… The feeling that you get when you
are launched down a steep drop on a roller coaster.
Only 7 days later, “Shooting in El Paso” Before you can let that sink in, 24 hours later, the headlines are, “Mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.”
A mix of emotion begins to swirl in our head like a whirlwind. Sadness, confusion, compassion, outrage, and anger each equally fighting for our full attention.
Which emotion do we entertain?
If we choose to linger on one of these emotions, we can get stuck and begin to see everything through the lens of that emotion.
It would be tempting to view the world through a consistent lens of negativity, waiting for the next shoe to drop. Or, it may be easier to lean into our anger and begin to assign blame.
Following these tragic events, the thought that kept going through my mind was, “God is still good.”
That gave me hope.
God is still good, even when things are not.
God is still good, even when people are not.
God is still good, even when circumstances are not.
Although it may sound like a simple answer to a very complicated situation, I believe it is very profound. Over and over again, the Bible tells us that God is good. How do we hold on to that in the midst of tragedy?
Hold on to hope.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds… Hebrews 10:23-24
How do we apply this verse in the circumstances we face? Let’s take a look at this verse with an expanded definition from the Greek lexicon.
Let us hold fast, (keep secure, keep firm possession of) our hope without wavering (with a firm, expectation and confidence we remain unmoved). Let us consider, (observe fully, behold, discover) how to stimulate (provoke unto love) good deeds (work, toil).
One way that we can hold on to our hope is to focus on the fact that God is faithful.
We can also observe the good work of others that is going on around us. My friend Elizabeth sent me this quote yesterday; I found it very encouraging.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”Fred Rogers
God sends those helpers. He empowers those responders, doctors and nurses to care for the wounded as well as the people who love them.
He nudges people to donate blood; He equips those who help the responders heal as they process the aftermath. He inspires generosity in strangers.
He comforts those who mourn, and He uses people to encourage and come alongside others. He brings families and communities together. He uses the church to be a light in the midst of darkness and introduce people to the hope of Christ.
Those are just a few examples of how God is good.
I do not believe that God causes bad things to happen. In contrast, I believe that He is present and wants to bring healing in the midst of those circumstances.