You told us there would be trouble in the world. But when tragedies occur, the grief and fear can be overwhelming. Lord, I want to be confident in Your victory over the world. I want my hope in You to anchor me in Your truth, peace, and power. Help me endure steadfastly in every time of trouble, that my faith will not fail.
Series Focus: Resurrecting Hope in the Midst of Life’s Storms
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on 9/11 when you heard about the airplanes hitting the Twin Towers? Maybe you weren’t old enough to remember yet… How about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December of 2012? Or perhaps, the recent shootings in Dayton, OH or El Paso, TX?
When tragedies like these occur, time seems to stop instantly. In the horror of those moments, our world caves. The unfathomable has happened. Precious lives have been violently and prematurely taken. Our minds try to comprehend the facts while our hearts hurt immensely. Our emotions become consumed by the ramifications of the unthinkable – anger, sadness, grief, depression, fear, anxiousness…
Where is God? Can I trust Him? Can I hope in Him? Is He really peace? Is He really victorious? If He is, why did these innocent lives perish? If He is, why does He allow such tragedies to occur?
We cannot pose as if we have all the answers. We don’t. But we can turn to scriptures to help bring clarity to our minds and hearts about the character of God, the will of God, the ability of God, and the truth about the world in which we live. Here are some words to cling to:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you… It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:6,8)
“I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail…” (Luke 22:32)
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)
The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:17-19)
God does not cause the evil in the world. He directly opposes it and purposes to rescue us from it. But there still IS evil in the world. Jesus warned us that we would witness and experience trouble. Even in the midst of tragedy, we are instructed to be confident of His victory – as well as our victory founded in Him.
It’s not easy to remain in His peace as chaos erupts around our nation and in the world. Yet, we can find further encouragement in Psalms and Paul’s Letters… David and Paul both suffered great affliction, yet they remained steadfast in the midst of tragedy.
David cried out, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). Paul exclaims, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Time stops for us as tragedies unfold. I remember exactly where I was on 9/11, on December 14, 2012, and this past weekend when the reports rolled out about the recent shootings. Like you, I grieve, I question, I’m angry. But we cannot stay paralyzed in that place of fear and defeat. We must rise up with hope in the One who comforts, heals, provides, and protects. He is our peace. He is perfect love. He is the giver of every good gift. He gives life. And once we arise – steadfast in our hope in Him – we need to bring His life and peace and comfort to others.
Tragedies are going to happen. Are you confident in the victory Jesus has provided for you? Are you led forth by His peace – despite the horrors unfolding in the world around us?
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: John 14:27, 16:33; Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Luke 22:32; Psalm 34:17-19, 73:26; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Hebrews 6:19-20; James 1:17; John 10:10