Hope for humanity amid the darkness

We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil.
Yet the true measure of a people’s strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive.
44 people were killed a couple of hours ago at Kennison State University.
Three swimmers from the men’s team were killed and two others are in critical condition.
When, after having heard the explosion from their practice facility, they ran into the fire to help get people out.
Ran into the fire.
The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight.
They’re our students and our teachers and our parents and our friends.
The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels, but every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless.

Probably my favourite quote from the West Wing.

Amid the rubble of yesterday’s horrific attack in Woolwich one aspect shines like a diamond in the mine.

The woman who stood up to the attackers, while they held a gun and a meat cleaver in their hands. The woman who stepped off the No 53 bus because she saw a man crumpled on the floor who might need some first aid. I frequently ride the 53.

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Let go, trust and forgive

I was walking down the road I trod in a puddle. Or a bus passed too close to the curb and drenched me from the waist down. Every moment in life is crowded with details that point to things not working how we might like them to.

I hear that someone I love is ill. I see carnage across the sea. I hear men who should know better suggest reasons for the chaos. All I want to do is cry.

And in my heart I flit between tortured indifference and unbridled anger knowing that brokenness and pain, and frailty and heartache are a normal feature of yours and mine and everyone’s life.

Whether it’s as I try to untangle my attraction to a girl from my insecurity to feel needed, or my rejection as others head to watch the Dark Knight Rises as I am left at home. Things do not work out how I would like them to. It is never as simple as it should be.

And we can fret and we can plan, and we can hope and we can dream. We can long for love to conquer all, we can read the books that claim to guide us. We can have all the answers to our questions and still stand adrift in a sea of chaos.

The final part of the puzzle does not slot into place like a jigsaw, it works in exactly the opposite way. It’s not a solution that makes things easy. Nor even one that tells you after a rocky ride everything will be okay.

Instead the answer is to raise your hands, loose your grip on what is in your hands. And let go.

Ruin is the starting point of transformation, but that doesn’t mean it’s a downhill ride after we’ve scaled the heights of suffering. Ruin requires surrendering, letting go and trusting in God. It means that we know that we cannot sort everything out, that plan B and C and all the way to Z may do us no good.

We trust in God and we hold tighter to him than to any of our hopes and dreams.

And there’s another thing. We forgive, which let’s us enter into the acts of redemption that work through the darkest of niches. Somehow, in the most challenging of situations light starts to shine. When things are wrong it is not the end.

When conflict reigns in a relationship. When pain gnaws away at the loneliness that follows break up. Or the isolation that surrounds singleness. When you do your best to solve whatever problems punch you in the face and they come back with a viscous left hook.

Let go, forgive, trust God. Not easy, never easy, but somehow it is the right thing to do. And even if you don’t, God is still there and he still loves you and redemption comes in the most unusual of places.