“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”— 1 Corinthians 13:13.
Anger, fear, sadness, and despair are all feelings many around the country are experiencing in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting, and they reside in my heart as well.
Today I saw the flags half-mast again, and something welled up in my heart— some type of fury at what we have become. As I watch and listen to the fervent finger-pointing and blame spewed out on the news and social media, I know I could easily join in. Can’t we all?
At Office Max I neared the check out lane, and noticed a manager standing behind the cash register looking off toward the Furniture aisle. A tall metal ladder-type structure on wheels was moving slowly down the aisle near the wall, the kind used for employees to reach something on a super-high shelf. On top of the metal platform stood a young man in an Office Max uniform. He was standing on the moving platform as a co-worker slowly pushed from below. With a smile in her voice, the manager called over to him, “What are you doing?”
The boy was grinning and called down, “Titanic!”
The ladder kept inching along and the boy was obviously having fun, and for some reason, this tickled my heart. I chuckled and told the manager, “He needs to put his arms out to the side!” We got a good laugh out of it as I paid and left the store.
I must say, that boy on the ladder lifted my spirits. Today as my son and I discussed his upcoming college and pathways, he shared how he wants to make change in the world and do something big. As we discussed ways God might be calling him to do this, I was struck by something I hadn’t felt in the last couple days: hope.
My son and the boy on the ladder gave me hope.
We can cry, lament, shame, scream, and blame others for what has happened. We can add it to our list of all that is wrong with the world. We can sink on our own Titanic, believing our country is a doomed ship going down, deep into despair.
Or we can dare to hope.
I heard a pastor once describe the Advent story as God With Us, Emmanuel, and how “God pokes holes in our darkness” with the coming of His Son. Christ in the world. Christ with us. Christ pokes holes in our darkness with the transforming light of His glory and hope. And two young men today, the age of the school killer, poked holes in my darkness. They made me see that even in tragedy, hope can still shine through.
My heart mourns for all the families, friends, classmates, teachers, and people of our country who had to hear and experience this horrific event in Florida. But as we mourn, let us not forget how God pokes holes in our darkness with faith, hope, and love. Let’s find those holes of light and share them with others!
Prayer–“God of all, we hurt today. We as a people are lost and suffering. Poke holes in our darkness with your glorious light. Help us to find hope today, when we need it most. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”