For most of us reading this, mass shootings and absurd acts of violence have been an ongoing part of our childhood and young adult years. I remember being in grade school when the Columbine shooting happened in 1999. At that time, a violent shooting was shocking. But today when shootings happen, we tend to hear people say “Again?” and “When will this stop?”
Before we go any further, I want to make one thing clear: I’m not here to change your mind about any controversial politics. Just like you, I have pretty strong opinions about guns, mental health and levels of government involvement, but you don’t need to hear more opinions. I’m sure your social media has also become a dumpster fire of angry people yelling at one another. I’m convinced those “conversations” never lead to change, and sharing my opinion here would do no good. So I’m not outlining next steps or urging you to write your senator. Today, I want to offer a lifeline that we have to figure out together.
Evil is not new. Controversy and corruption are not unique to our generation. The world we occupy is heavy. Darkness is prevalent, and it always has been since the garden of Eden.
Those realities are some of the main reasons why I follow Jesus. I need someone bigger than myself to hang onto on hard days when we witness heartbreaking tragedies. And I almost equally need hope when my baby daughter just won’t sleep and I’m at the end of my rope. I need hope when I have tough decisions to make and feel no clarity. I need hope when facing financial obstacles or a lingering illness.
If you’re a believer and you were raised in the church like I was, then you probably know where this post is headed. On dark days, we know truth. We know God is with us and won’t forsake us. We know he’s for us and we know good will win in the end. We know a lot of things, but a lot of us are feeling differently.
When another shooting takes over the headlines and both sides of every issue are screaming at each other, it’s harder to remember what we know. Instead of the hope we know, we begin to slide back into the weariness we feel.
Again, if you were raised in the church like I was, the words you’re about to read are familiar. Take a minute to read these passages, and do your best to have a fresh perspective. Don’t skim past them because you know them:
Do not grow weary in doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3:13)
Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
You know these, right? We memorize the verses about hope. I’m guessing most of you couldn’t recite Leviticus 19:27 from memory, but you probably do know Matthew 11:18.
When we’re feeling weary, we have to really lean into what we know, even when we do not feel it. From my understanding of Scripture, our God is able to do whatever He wants. I believe He is all-powerful and all-knowing and altogether good. I know that.
I also believe that God designed the world in such a way that we get to play a part. As we read in Ephesians 2:10, God has specific things in mind that He wants us to accomplish. He already knows what we will and won’t follow through with, and He also knows we need encouragement and hope. He knew from the beginning that we’d face difficult days and tragic school shootings that leave us with “hope tanks” that feel incredibly empty.
Promises and Actions
The Bible is very clear about what we’re supposed to do when we’re weary. Consistently in the Old and New Testaments, the answer to weariness is rest — more specifically, rest in God’s promises.
Resting in God’s promises is not an excuse for refraining from action. Not at all. The world needs us to stand up for biblical truth, and your voice is an important part of that. Remember Ephesians 2:10 — God has specific actions He’s asking you to take.
So take them. Have difficult conversations. Be kind to everyone. Never fault or ridicule someone who seeks help or counseling. Maybe you need help or counseling. Speak up, live with love and do your part to move this messy world forward.
But — as with any other fight — you will grow weary. In this world you will have trouble. The Bible keeps reminding us to persevere because God knew the world was full of labor and trials and politicians and guns and angry news panelists.
When weariness sets in, don’t trust your feelings, but remember what you know. Find hope in what is true.
Don’t give up. Don’t grow weary of doing good. Seek rest in Jesus. Remember who wins in the end, and remember He’s inviting you to participate.
Copyright 2018 Matt Ehresman. All rights reserved.