Not Without Hope

Pastoral Reflections

The shooting at a Highlands Ranch school brought pain to our hearts this week. It was a reminder that evil and pain are real. For some of us, it was another layer on past school shootings from which many were still healing.

The evil displayed is on two levels. First, it brought harm, sometimes up to death, to people. Innocent people; children as well as parents, teachers and other staff, friends, neighbors, extended family, the public, even our institutions. And, on a different level, we see evil playing out through such darkening and bending of the will of the perpetrators. Regardless of the circumstances—medical, situational, etc., it is still evil playing out through human agency against the original purpose for their lives.

One question (not the only one) that pain and suffering prompts is, “Does it have to be this way?” In our pain and grief – at such moments in life when our minds, once more, begin to ponder and our souls search, let me point us again to the cross and the empty tomb.

An advance payment acts like a present guarantee that the rest will be completed in due time. The cross and an empty tomb act in a similar manner in view of the redemption of all things, including the final defeat of evil. I pray that this truth can offer us comfort and hope today as we grieve. At the cross, we have the comforting knowledge that God knows, and acts to make all things right. At the empty tomb, we find the guarantee that victory over evil is indeed in effect, and the rest will be completed in due time.

Let us grieve, yet at the cross as we pray for comfort for all who have been affected. Let us grieve, yet not without hope at the empty tomb – the guarantee of a finality to the defeat of evil.