EDITOR’S NOTE: James Carroll is pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, Ky., and president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
We lament Monday’s tragic loss of life through what is an all-too-common circumstance, and we join in praying for those directly impacted by this murderous rampage. These heinous acts not only break our hearts, they tempt us to despair. But even in disorienting times of great sorrow, we are not shaken because we have hope. The biblical concept of hope is not wishful thinking or naive optimism; rather, it is joyful, confident expectation for the future.
While many in our world search in vain for explanations and solutions in the natural realm, we look to God through his word to find the context for understanding these horrific murders, the strength to endure this season, and a reason for hope.
Every death is a blossom on the tree of mankind’s rebellion against God. In some cases – like Monday – the devastation of death is compounded by the additional evil of murderous intent, all loss of life is a consequence of sin and a reminder that we live under the curse of its reign.
Let these tragedies stir in us a hatred for sin and a desire to overcome it. Even if our disdain toward sin grows, however, we are unable to escape its power and curse on our own. We are destined for God’s judgment, but He has not abandoned us because of His great love for us. Instead, He sent His only Son to die in our place providing a way of escape from His wrath, forgiveness of sin, and eternal life.
True hope – joyful, confident expectation for the future – in the midst of this or any calamity can only be found in Jesus, whose death and resurrection defeated sin and death, and in the promise that He will return one day to deliver all who have turned to Him in faith and to make all things new.
Yes, we mourn with those who are mourning today and strive for peace and healing in this world, but these moments turn our attention to the hope we have in God’s promise of deliverance through Jesus.
This article originally appeared in Kentucky Today.