Today the news reports are filled with the story of yet another act of terror. Photographs and videos of destruction and death play over and over with every station’s broadcasts and I am immediately tempted to allow myself to feel nothing. It happened in another part of the world far from my quiet neighborhood and I am weary of evil reports. I want to retreat into ignorance and pretend that this kind of horror cannot reach me. But I cannot. I will not.
The facts of the case are still being pieced together, opinions run rampant as many watch and wait to see if someone or some organization with a cause will claim responsibility. The very nature of terrorism is to cause great fear and if you take the time to look around, read the comments on social media, provoke conversations with your friends and co-workers you will most likely find that whomever is behind this terrible deed has effectively accomplished their goal. They’ve made us afraid.
Some would say that this kind of fear is necessary in order to be alert and prepare as best we can to protect ourselves. However, having spent the vast majority of my life living fear-based, I would disagree. You see, I think there is a vast difference in wisdom (which is what we need) and fear (which is not what we need). Wisdom is knowledge put to proper use. In the aftermath of this bombing there is much to be learned and this knowledge will help governments and individuals be as prepared as possible as this evil huffs and puffs and threatens to blow down more houses. But prepare as we might, there is an unpredictability in this life that we cannot avoid. Herein lies the root of our fears.
As I watched the news this morning I forcibly focused on the fact that these were people just like you and me who are enduring a kind of suffering that hasn’t touched my life. They are hurting and desperate and confused and angry. And some are hopeless. I cannot be there to bandage their wounds, comfort their hurts, mourn with them over their loved ones lost, or even speak encouragement to their hearts. But I can pray that in the whirlwind that surrounds their lives, in this moment they find Hope. Not the temporary kind of hope that this world has to offer, but an ever-living hope. Hope that shows up in the darkest of times. Hope that reveals Himself in the wreckage of plans and dreams, not as the creator of the destruction, but the One who remains when all else crumbles.
Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Born anew into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay, imperishable, unsullied and unfading… 1 Peter 1:3-4
Peter wrote these words to believers who were facing persecution and suffering. It was during a time when the Roman government under Nero had shifted its attitude from toleration to persecution in Rome. His letter was one of encouragement and exhortation, not to discover ways to avoid all suffering, but rather how to endure it as a testimony to the hope they held. Calling them to a firm belief that there is so much more to this life than what we see and what we experience in the natural. He knew that some would give their lives for being followers of Jesus. He knew many would face false accusations, imprisonments, and great hardships. And while he was specifically referring to the religious persecution of the day, I believe that these words speak to us today in whatever suffering we find ourselves.
So brace up your minds; be sober; set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace that is coming to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1:13)
The Passion has our focus this week. Our thoughts are on the sufferings of Christ, His death, and of course, His resurrection, the very foundation of our hope. He made it possible for us to replace our fears that rise in the midst of suffering or the threats of terror with true hope. Ever-living hope. He IS coming back one day and I believe that as eternity unfolds before us we will begin to understand all that He worked in our times of trials. There will be no regrets for having put our hope in Him.
Join me and pray that the people of Brussels find this ever-living Hope.
“An ever-living hope” was written by Kay Stinnett and was first published on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com
Photo from India.com