"For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." - Romans 8:24-25
Another 50 human beings are dead after the worst mass-shooting in the history of the United States of America.
The shooter opened fire with an automatic assault rifle inside a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida late Saturday night.
Regardless of what we may believe about the lifestyles of the victims, this is an absolutely horrific tragedy. Fifty people - real human lives - one act of violent hatred. Truly, this is a low point for our nation as a whole. It seems that darkness has won again.
The sad thing is that this tragedy is only one of several dozen you will hear about on the news tonight. Sin ravages our world and takes captive our brothers and sisters of the human race, and also ourselves. What are we supposed to think? What are we supposed to do in the shadow of these terrible events? How are we supposed to respond?
It is extremely tempting to feel hatred against the shooter. It is a nearly irresistible desire for the most awful things to happen to such perpetrators of violence. It is almost impossible not to respond with all of the vengeance within our power.
But, isn't that exactly what an enemy wants us to feel and think and do? Is it not their primary goal to instill such fear and sorrow that we come to believe darkness really has won? If we were to respond in these ways, wouldn't that make us just like them?
Is hope real anymore?
Hope is still real.
In the face of evil and hatred, hope and light still exist. Even if you can't see it at first, it's there. Even though the wounds are still fresh, healing has already begun.
Paul writes something truly remarkable in his letter to the Romans, Ch. 8 verses 24-25, "For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
What do you see on the news right now? Violence? Hatred? Darkness? Probably. Do you see any Hope? Probably not. Now put that into the context of the verse we just read together. Perhaps I am taking this verse slightly out of context--if I am, I'm sorry--but, I still think it can offer us some encouragement right now.
We do not hope for more of what we see. We do not hope for hatred. We do not hope for darkness. We do not hope for more of this destruction, this division, this heartache.
We do hope for more of what we do not see. We hope for love. We hope for light. We hope for more redemption, more unity, more rejoicing together.
Only Christ can bring these things into our reality.
Today, we mourn with the families who have lost loved ones in the Orlando shooting and pray for their comfort and healing.
Tomorrow, we rebuild with hope and wait patiently for Christ's return.
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director @ IDES