Hope In The Hopless

by Kelly Borjas

I’ll never forget when I was younger, living in Colorado, the massive pain of the Columbine Massacre—the images and news coverage; the sheer horror. A couple years ago, I woke up to the news on my phone of the Las Vegas shootings, and shot out of bed, remembering I had a friend there for the concert where the shooting took place. She had to flee the event, watching the carnage play out in front of her while her husband worked to help the wounded. Just a couple weeks ago, I heard about the Gilroy incident and I was cut to the heart about a little boy passing away—a little one close to my own son’s age.

Honestly, I can hardly even read or follow these news stories as they induce a fear inside me. Today, my parents are taking my kids to the movies, and the thought goes through my head: will my kids be safe? What if something happens? My first reaction is to want to avoid anything that could be dangerous, especially for the safety of my kids, but if I play this logic out—where can I go? Where is a guaranteed safe place, away from any harm? Not a movie theater, festival, concert, public building, school. It’s not just shootings I need to think about—I’m not even guaranteed a safe drive on the freeway to work today; yet I can’t hide out in fear. That’s not living.

This past weekend, my husband and I had a getaway with our best friends, without our kids. As per usual, we talked about everything in our lives. I remember after one of the mass shootings, talking to these friends about how I would logistically get my kids to safety in the event something happens (run, hide, fight—what mother wants to think this way)? My friend has four kids; her husband is a police officer. We all want the answers and the solutions to these problems that are so prevalent in our society. Is it the guns? The mental health? Social media? Not catching the signs of these behaviors sooner? We ask the questions; we can’t find the answers.

As I’ve grappled with the intensity of the news in the last couple weeks, I want to find the solution. I would do anything to guarantee a world where we could be safe anywhere, where I could live with certainty in the knowledge that my kids would be safe. As we discussed this topic, we came to the same conclusion: since sin entered the world, evil has been prevalent. We’ve seen it in wars, genocides, terrorism, mass shootings…the list continues on. While our society may be more aware of the news now, and the notoriety of these events escalates, it’s nothing new under the sun. We can’t remove evil.

This is where perspective comes in as a believer in Jesus. I am reminded of the hope of the Gospel. I am reminded that until Jesus comes back, renews and restores the earth, and rules for eternity, we will live in a fallen world. I don’t pretend to have the answers to the issues at hand. Instead, I have to live in the tension of knowing we live in a world of sin and heartbreak of our own making, but that we have THE answer. We have Jesus, who offers redemption, who rescues us from the chains of sin. I’m reminded that the here and now is not our eternity, but that Jesus conquered sin and death for us to live in eternity. He is the Author of Salvation, the Comforter, the Redeemer.

This may seem trite or naïve—I am in no way advocating that Christians remove themselves from places of influence or that we just “give up” attempting to find solutions. We should eagerly seek to apply prayer, intellect, and logic as we engage in these discussions, and critically examine the environment in which we live. However, we need a framework for our beliefs, a worldview that impacts our decisions. It is this unwavering belief in the truth and redemption in Jesus that helps us understand our fallen world and where our hope lies. We engage, even when it is hard and do not have the specific answer to an unanswerable question, we do not shrink back. We have the message of the greatest news the world has ever heard and it can certainly make hope more real even in the midst of pain and loss.

Like so many things in life, living in the tension, the balance, is a difficult place to be. We are caught between the knowledge that “for me to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). We can’t stop living, because it’s our lives on earth that point to Christ, grow us closer to Him, give us glimpses of that great joy, but we long for the day of completion. Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Friends, let us live in the hope that Jesus brings: the eternal, complete hope. There will come a day without pain and sadness.