We stood in the museum lobby looking up at the twisted, broken beams. And I had to explain how some men filled with hate flew planes into buildings. Keep it short, keep it simple, keep it in the past–don’t mention the people jumping from windows to escape the flames or the anger and horror and collective grief.
But why, Mom? Why would someone do that?
Then a couple days later the news came on the car radio while we were driving home. Officers killed. A city prayed and mourned. One more senseless act in a summer filled with violence. The question came from the backseat.
But why? Why would anyone do that?
Why indeed? What is wrong with us as a society that we have to remind ourselves that black lives matter and blue lives matter when the truth is that life matters–that all of us are created in the image of God and worthy of respect and honor. When did the value of life become a talking point? How did we get so broken that our culture produces people who think their hate justifies walking into nightclubs and churches and employee lunches and snuffing out people’s lives like an unwanted flame? How do we love well when we’ve forgotten how to listen to one another, when conversation means retreating to your corners and yelling talking points across the room?
What do you do when the world feels broken?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, thought I think solutions lie somewhere down the path of learning to listen to one another for the sake of hearing them, not planning our rebuttals. In loving those God puts in our path, and continuing to love with courage even when the world slaps you down. In teaching our children that the world is broken, but God makes us whole. And there’s hope in remembering the end of the story–a new creation and a redeemed people from every tribe and tongue, living together in the Lamb’s eternal light.
These are some of the truths I cling to in a broken world:
But now in Christ you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside the in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility (Ephesians 2:14-16).
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you (Isaiah 54:10).
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3).
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats, do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:13-15).
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
What truths give you hope in a broken world?