Choosing our response in a world filled with bad news is the most important decision our broken hearts will make throughout the days ahead.
There simply is no way to make sense out of what happened this week in Las Vegas. It was an act of evil that is incomprehensible. And that this tragedy followed so closely after the devastating hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes striking around the world seems particularly unbearable. So much suffering has left many of us feeling stunned, shaken, and entirely unsure of how to respond.
We can choose to respond in fear and anger – a natural response to the heartbreaking events that have rocked us to our core. Or we can choose an entirely unnatural response – made possible only by God’s Holy Spirit. We can choose to respond in love.
Love resists the urge to shut down.
Our natural instinct is to huddle up and hunker down. But keeping the good in and the bad out has never been the way of the gospel.
What the world needs – what we need – is to throw wide the gates of our hearts and welcome one another in. It is here, inside this embrace, where we will find the comfort, strength, and courage we need to keep showing up to fight for good.
Now more than ever we’ve got to resist the natural response of wanting to shut ourselves off from a world filled with danger. To surround ourselves with “safe” people who look and act and think like us. To behave like it’s “us” against “them.”
When we allow the violence and heartbreak to divide us, the enemy wins.
Let’s use this time of sorrow and anger to grow stronger bonds over the common cause of making our world a safer, saner, and more peaceful place to live. We don’t have to agree on everything to agree on this.
Love looks for light in the darkness.
It’s only natural for us to respond to evil with anger. Just as it’s only natural to respond to loss with sorrow. But if left unchecked, our anger can blacken into hatred. And our sorrow can deepen into despair. The darkness of these moments can overwhelm us, and we face the sobering risk of our hearts growing cold or bitterly broken.
Instead of dwelling on the darkness, we can look for God’s light. The light we need to find our way.
We find His light in His Word and now more than ever we should be spending time with Him there.
God’s light is evident in the strangers who risked their lives to save another’s. In the long lines of people waiting to donate blood. And in the kindness and passion of first responders in Las Vegas and aid workers in ravaged towns. These acts of love spring from hearts made in the image of a loving God.
So let’s celebrate every glimmer of light shining into the darkness of these hours. Because these bright moments are God spilling His light into our world.
And as we search for light in the darkness we must remember that we are the bearers of that light. And as God’s light-bearing people we have a choice to make.
Love does what feels unnatural.
We can choose to respond naturally to the fear, anger, and pain in this world by shrinking away from it. Dwelling on the darkness. And allowing our responses to stir up more anger, division, and dissension.
Or we can choose to do what feels entirely unnatural.
We can cry out to the Holy Spirit. Asking Him to fill us with the patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control we need to love one another. To love our enemies. And to care for those in need.
Choosing our response in a world filled with fear is the most important choice we have to make.
God calls us to love others even when we’re hurting, scared and confused. Because God’s love is the only thing that will change this world.
We can’t do these things naturally even in the very best of times. But by the power of the Holy Spirit – the evidence of God’s love alive and well amidst the brokenness and pain – we can choose to respond differently to a world filled with fear. We can choose to respond in love.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
What do you find most challenging when choosing your response to the fear in our world? And where have you seen God’s light and love breaking through? Please leave your comments below and let’s encourage one another as we look for ways to respond in His love.