My stomach clenched tight when I heard about the attack on Brussels. Every time there is news of another terrorist attack I want to hide. I literally want to crawl in my bed, pull the covers up to my chin, and escape from this world. It’s scary out there. I don’t want any part of it.
When I was in graduate school to be a counselor and began seeing my first clients, my world was shaken to the core after hearing my client’s heart wrenching stories. The rose colored glasses I had used to peer onto the world my whole life had been ripped off and I didn’t know quite how to deal. I saw everything differently. When I walked down the aisles at Target and looked at the people around me, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were good or bad? Had they inflicted evil on another, or had they had evil inflicted on them? I mean, when a trip to Target – aka America’s happy place - gives you an existential crisis on Aisle 3? You know it’s rough.
I have a very tender heart and I didn’t know if I could handle it being broken open each day by my client’s stories. But the thing was, now I knew about the world beyond the rose colored glasses. And because I knew, I couldn’t turn my back. While life certainly felt much easier and less bitter looking through the rose colored glasses, I couldn’t just put them back on and pretend life was the same because it wasn’t. The heartbreak of this broken world had ruined me. And now I had to let God do something with that ruin. So I continued forward, earned my master's in counseling, and became a certified life coach.
But hearing about these terrorist attacks gives me that same feeling I encountered all those years ago – a gripping feeling in my gut, a wail to God from my heart, and a massive swirl of barely coherent thoughts in my mind. I don’t understand the brutality in this world. I don’t understand how people can do what we do to one another, day in and day out.
So I have to hold out my broken heart to God and let him do something with it.
I ask Him: how can we have hope in a world like this?
Then I look to the cross. And I remember.
We are supposed to have hope, but we were never supposed to place our hope in a world like this.
Hope came to this broken, busted, messed up world in the form of a babe many Decembers ago. Hope came to the world when that babe, now a grown man, was nailed to a piece of wood for no crime at all, who bore all of our ugly brokenness, busted-ness, and messed-up-ness. Hope came to the world when the rock was rolled away from the dark tomb and its emptiness loudly declared that death had been conquered for once and for all.
If we look to place our hope in a world like this, we will have no hope.
Which is exactly why were never supposed to place our hope in a world like this at all.
Instead, Jesus holds out his nail-scarred hand and whispers, will you place your hope in me?
When we take off the rose colored glasses, things seem dark if we keep our gaze fixed on the world. But if we place our gaze - and our hope - on Jesus? We will bask in the light of his glory, which is far better than anything we could ever experience behind the rose colored glasses.