Over the past week we witnessed tragedy filled with unfathomable darkness, again. For too many in Orlando, and in places before and beyond, the ups and downs through grief and ripples of pain will linger in their hearts for months, if not years, to come. Like the soldier on a battlefield who saves one comrade in the midst of losing another, those who acted quickly and heroically and many who simply got out will struggle with survivor’s guilt.
The newsfeed has saturated our minds with distressing images and agenda-driven stories, pulling at our sense of humanity. The Orlando massacre (and those that mimic it) is not a singling out … it is another in our face example that evil is among us. The fact is our nation is at war. We are at war with terrorists in the Middle East, in England, in France, (and sadly more) and right here on American soil. From Oklahoma to New York City to Washington DC … from London to Paris to Kandahar. From a former American soldier turned terrorist to foreigners disguised as citizens who align with terrorists, we cannot allow such darkness to extinguish our hope.
The enemy will use whatever will serve to divide and conquer.
If we view this (or any other) act of terror as a “singling out” rather than the misled hardened heart that it is — cruelty driven to obliterate — then we have given the enemy even more divisive power. To alleviate the darkness terrorism represents we must adamantly cling to being one nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We are at times a torn nation, yet we are still a strong nation.
Years back, an attorney friend of mine shared her thoughts on a babysitter who had neglected the children in her care. Her profound wisdom stuck with me: You’ll never be able to wrap your rational mind around an irrational mind and make sense out of the unsensible, she said. Instead, we must be strong and courageous, not be afraid or tremble. In the face of terror … illness … wrong doings … struggle … adversity … in the midst of it all we must not lose hope. In fact, scripture encourages us to cling to hope for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Wherever the battle resides our hope is ultimately rooted in faith. There we can be assured of restoration, healing and victory, even in the face of unfathomable circumstances. When a loved one is battling a “war” inside (such as with PTSD, cancer, Alzheimer’s, or some other illness), the best defense we have is our attitude; it is the only way we can turn helplessness into helpfulness.
The reality is that the people who suffered and died has caused many Americans to rethink the what, where, when, and how of not to be a victim – what to do if/when terror strikes again. While politicians and psychologists are busy trying to answer how to avert or prevent another shooting, it’s important to note that terrorism is much less about a weapon of choice, and much more about a choice to hate. I hope and pray we will be propelled to do more for those who hurt – not just during and immediately following a tragedy, but every day – we must choose hope.