Hope (Sarah Brandt)

“Do not be anxious about anything (do not let your heart be troubled or afraid) but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:4)

As I sit down to begin writing about hope, I am distracted by the news. There was another school shooting today. Apparently, this was the 5th school shooting in one week in our country. (As I worked on this piece, my mind kept disputing that fact. How could there be 5 school shootings in one week?! Did they actually say 5 in the last month, or perhaps in the past year? I listened to the news clip again and it was true: 5 school shootings in the USA in the past WEEK)
The faces and words of the high school students who were interviewed echo again and again in my mind. One high school boy said that because they had practiced “lock down” drills many times, the students, faculty and staff were prepared and not many people were killed or injured.

How can I be with this sadness as I prepare to write about hope? How can I hold onto hope when the repetitive nature of these tragedies wears me down and makes me want to turn away? How do I give thanks and/or praise God as this reverberates in my mind and in my heart?

Perhaps one definition of hope would be accepting what is while simultaneously wishing things were different. Hope is required to imagine a profound, transformative change in our country to prevent any more senseless shootings.

The verse above reminds me that the peace of God is beyond our understanding. Although I cannot clearly envision how such a change may come, I bring this to God in prayer. Advent is a season of preparation and hope. Let us prepare and pray.
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