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Challenge: Back to School 2021

We Cannot Lose Hope

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To my friend who feels overwhelmed by all of the happenings in the world right now - I am with you. And to my friend whose heart is breaking from the division and the anger and the animosity that seems to be all around - I am with you.

It has felt like so much lately.

The division in our country. The surge of the Delta variant around the world. The horrendous things taking place in Afghanistan. The earthquake in Haiti.

I have found myself at times feeling a bit anxious. Is this our world now? Will this anger and hostility and division just be a part of our lives moving forward? Will things that are not political continue to become political? Will screaming at each other because we think differently, and dismissing those who don’t hold the same views as us, just become a part of how we interact?

Is this going to be the world my children grow old in?

I think these things and feel a heaviness inside my heart.

And then I remember that while it all feels overwhelming and unsettling to me, God knows. There is nothing that takes Him by surprise. And He can use all things for His glory. Even those things that feel so broken.

In this world we were meant to have trouble. There is no question about that. It just seems the trouble has been coming from so many angles lately, and we aren’t catching a break.

But friends, we cannot lose hope.

Just like I believe in the goodness of God, I believe we can rise above the circumstances. I believe we can find a way to think differently and still be kind. We have to. This anger and this hostility have to end.

There are times when I feel like I have to give a disclaimer to my faith. I am a Christian, but......

I’m not against those who don’t think like me and look like me and act like me.

I strive to love my God and my brother and sister above all else and know that everyone I encounter is a child of God. Everyone.

Sometimes, I worry that when people hear the word Christianity, it is becoming synonymous with anger and hatred and condemnation - which is the opposite of the life Christ lived. The One we are trying to model our lives after.

I have had to limit my news intake over the past months because of the anxiety it was causing my heart. There is a lot happening in the world, our country, our states, our cities and in our communities.

The images of the atrocities in Afghanistan are gut wrenching. To know people are praying and anticipating their lives may be taken and to know of the persecution and what is happening to families, and to women, is beyond heartbreaking.

To hear the rising death toll in Haiti and to think of the destruction and the devastation in light of the most recent report about our climate and to wonder, how much more will these headlines become commonplace?

And to watch our school board meeting from last week make national coverage because of the anger and hostility that were demonstrated, breaks my heart and makes me wonder how we can preach the importance of kindness to our children, when we are modeling the opposite in a public forum as grown-ups.

And as these things swirl in my mind, I remember God is in control. The world at times may feel chaotic and the headlines may be hard to read, but God is still there. He is in the mess. And I trust in His goodness and I remember that there is nothing too big for Him.

So I will lay it down. At His feet.

I may struggle and try to pick it up again, but He knows that, too. And He is gentle and patient. There is so much in this world I cannot change, but I can take responsibility for myself. For my words and my actions. For how I choose to respond, or not to respond, to the things happening around me.

The choices we make, both big and small, do matter, friends.

So let’s choose kindness. Let’s choose support. And encouragement. Let’s not make these hard situations worse with our anger.

And if you don’t feel like you can get there on your own, that’s okay, because God can. And He is with you. And He is for you. So give it to Him. And watch how He can transform your heart.

It’s easy to love those who are like us, but can you imagine if we linked arms with those who aren’t? Can you imagine how powerful that would be?

That is where transformation will take place.

That is when people will say, “Look at how they love each other. I want that in my life.” More than being right, or proving my point, that’s what I want to strive for, friends.

That’s what I want my life to look like.

Please God, take what is broken and make it new. Please God, let them know we are Christians by our love.

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