The pictures were horrific –  debris littering the streets; flames licking the black sky; screams and chaos renting the air; police officers in riot gear facing an angry crowd.

For the second time, in less than a year, violence and anger boiled over and bled into the streets. Racial tensions snapped into retaliation by a life carelessly, callously thrown away.

This year has felt like a parade of violence. Every time I turn on the television or peruse my news feeds, someone is being shot or choked or beheaded or burned or some other unspeakable, awful, incomprehensible thing.

While Baltimore was rocked by racial riots, Nepal was shaken and reduced to rubble by Mother Nature. Thousands were displaced, missing, dead.

It seems like too much. Too much death and suffering. Too much to take in or absorb or process.

Sad little girl

I look at it all and feel helpless and hopeless. The gulf seems so wide. The problems seem too big, too difficult, insurmountable. The blows seem to come in waves that continuously lap at the shore of my soul and relentlessly wear it away.

And there doesn’t seem like there is anything I can do. What is one person, one voice in the face of that endless tide of pain and heartache and sadness?

Yet, small slivers of hope shine through. A young boy hands water to a police officer. Grace in the face of pain and hurt.

A wall of men stand up. Thousands of men and women quietly, peacefully protest – stand tall, their silence shouting the need for justice, for accountability, for acknowledgment.

A father, bent by grief and pain, asks for peace, asks for what he wasn’t given.

Across the world, a baby, tiny face caked with dirt, is found alive. A shining miracle among the mayhem.

A young man, hope mingled with despair, willing others to hear him. Afraid he was lying in his own grave, is found. Another miracle of life in a landscape of death.

But, the hope, the joy moments seem small – their light weak in the face of the vast darkness of these past weeks.

And yet, if we are believers, we have peace. We have hope. We have joy.

 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

At least, we can if we dare to have faith. It starts with a question – do you believe?

Do you believe that God is bigger than any crisis?

Do you believe that God is good despite circumstances?

Do you believe God is working amidst the hurt and pain and anger?

Do you believe that your God is the same God who parted the Red Sea, brought down the walls of Jericho, stopped the sun in its orbit, saved and redeemed all of mankind?

This is the type of God we serve:

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. Ephesians 3:20

Now – not yesterday or sometime in the future, but right now.

He who is able – God is able. He is bigger than any problem. He put the planets into orbit, placed the mountains and formed the oceans. Our problems are infinitesimal in the face of His power.

To do far more abundantly beyond – Paul was so overwhelmed by God’s ability that he can’t quite find the words to express it. He is saying God is so able, he can’t even really express God’s able-ness. He has to keep tacking on adjective after adjective.

All that we ask or think – Our requests are puny compared to what God can and will do in and through us. It’s beyond our capacity to even think up what to ask because our perspective is so small and so narrow compared to God’s.He sees the events of the past week and they don’t surprise Him.

According to the power that works within us – If we belong to God, His Spirit resides in us. John writes in I John 4:4 that greater is He that in us than he that is in the world. In another verse, it says we are MORE than conquerors through Christ. The same power that works in and through us, is the power that raised Christ from the dead.

Despite the grim news and discouraging reports, we can have hope and peace and joy. It all comes down to whether we are willing to believe more in God’s goodness than in the world’s evil.

Blessings, Rosanne

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