The world seems to be an increasingly scary place to live. It seems like every day there is news of another mass shooting or a suicide bombing; horrific tragedies both domestic and international. And that says nothing of the car accidents, kidnappings, and robberies you can catch on your local news.
Even just writing that paragraph gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach.
It’s easy to lose hope when this is the narrative day in and day out. It’s easy to wonder what is actually good in this world, when most major events seem so desperately bad.
But at the same time, I KNOW that hope is so important for each of us to hang onto. Hope is one of those things that KEEPS good in the world. And if we lose hope, sometimes it feels like we’re just letting all the bad guys win.
In her new book, Grounded, Diana Butler Bass lets us know we’re not alone: “‘Where is God?’ has echoed from every corner of the planet in recent years in circumstances so dire that many wonder whether we have been abandoned and left to fend for ourselves. The case could be made that the first years of the twenty-first century could be called the ‘Age of Anxiety’ or the ‘Age of Fear’; there are far too many reasons to believe that human history has tipped toward ultimate destruction. Hope is at a premium, but the supply is perilously short. Fear is both cheap and plentiful.”
But what happens if we live in a constant state of fear? Who does that help? How does that push us forward? Perhaps most importantly, is that what God intends us for to do? Is that how He wants us to live?
I know God and religion can be polarizing topics, but I think most understand the inherent beauty of and power in faith — and the intense need for it, now more than ever. Faith in a higher power and a deeper meaning for what we endure on earth is what allows us to be strong, loving individuals in the face of near constant pain and uncertainty.
Butler Bass reminds us that: “Human beings have a tendency to ask important questions when tragedy strikes, but God is also in the midst of joy, when we forget to ask, and in life’s more mundane experiences.”
Sure, it’s easy to think that this world is (quite literally) going to hell when glued to the latest news cycle. (I say, turn it off.) But what about the other moments, often those that occur right after tragedy strikes? The moments where we come together as community, the moments where we support one another, the moments where we go out of our way for a stranger.
I have faith in the basic goodness of humankind. I have faith that we can continue to come together as a community, regardless of our religious beliefs, and stand against forces of hate and violence. And I have faith that we are being watched over and guided, and ultimately, we will be taken care of.
As long as we are living, breathing humans on this earth, we can only be certain of one thing: there is nothing of which we can be certain, in the good times and the bad. Unless, of course, we have faith.
I have faith that love trumps hate, every time. And the hate and violence only win when we lose faith in love.