I want my kids to go to school.
I want to go to the movies.
I want to go to my favorite restaurant.
I want to go to the mall.
I want to go to a holiday party.
There was a time in my life when any of the above scenarios would have seemed fine, normal, even routine. And now? Well, that’s the real question. How will I respond to what feels like an unending string of mass shootings, whether they are classified as “terrorist” or not?
I have been spending time in Romans during Advent, and once again these words came to my attention:
“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5)
Suffering… Endurance… Character… Hope… Hope does not disappoint because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. In the face of such horrific, senseless acts, and as one who has chosen to follow in the Way of Jesus, there is a clear calling of how we are to respond.
We are people of hope. We do know the love of God. We do believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. How does my life model that? To begin with, by not denying the incredible suffering that is taking place; not succumbing to it, but rather having it build strength, endurance, and faithful character that is manifested in hope, love, and belief that God’s love will prevail in the end.
The struggle continues. But let us hold fast to the words of the Prophet Micah, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
In doing so, we will be the bearers of hope, love, and faithfulness.