Updated on July 13, 2016
On hope and patience, and the violence in our country
But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25
I watched the sun set over the Pacific Ocean last night. Slowly, as the earth rotated, the sun sunk lower and lower on the horizon. As it did, the colors changed, the shadows lengthened, the cool breeze washed over our sun-kissed shoulders. In the minutes before the bright yellow sun was no longer visible, the beauty of a California sunset unfolded, as if to say, I’m just taking a break for a little while. I’ll be back. I left you a beautiful memory so you won’t forget me.
And just like that, the sun was gone. Never once did I say, “Come back! Wait! Don’t go!” As sure as I am about the ocean’s waves continuing their rhythmic pounding on the shore, I am sure that the sun will rise again tomorrow morning and set again tomorrow evening, whether I’m there to see it or not. I don’t have to hope that the sun will rise again, I just know that it will.
But funny thing about the sunset, I can’t make it happen any faster or slower than its timetable dictates. No amount of wishing or hoping will make it come sooner. I have to wait patiently. I have to stand on the shore, waves lapping my bare feet, and wait for time to tick away until those few magical moments arrive.
The reward for my patience is a glorious display of gold, orange and pink. The midday sun may have made the day long and heavy with hot anticipation, but that is all forgotten as I stare at the beauty before me.
Sometimes, especially in the winter, we find ourselves in the midst of long, dreary, cloud-laden days. The sun doesn’t shine, and the sunset is hidden behind thick clouds and darkness, barely noticed. The hope of summertime and her glorious sunsets is a distant memory and we wonder if we’ll ever see the beauty again.
Our country feels pretty hopeless right now. In recent weeks, we have witnessed horrific demonstrations of evil in our world. It’s difficult to process it all because every day it seems there is something new to report. It’s easy to fall into the place of feeling like there is no hope for any of us.
The sun refuses to shine. There is no sunset, no beauty of colors and light. Just darkness and dread.
We long for peace. Our hearts weep for those who have died at the hands of others. We hope against all hope that all this senseless violence will stop. Just stop it already!
We see no hope. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.
We wait, though we can’t even see what it is we are waiting for.
We hope for what we do not have.
The fruit of the Spirit is… Patience. Galatians 5:22
“We are enlarged in the waiting. We of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” Romans 8: 25 MSG
People, I am telling you that despite the violence and the death and the hate and the downright terrible circumstances our country has found itself in, there is hope. We may not be able to see it or touch it or taste it, but it’s there nonetheless, because we hope for what we cannot see.
We choose to hope. We choose to do the next right thing. We choose to love our neighbor. We choose to stop the hate. We choose to be a positive force in the world around us. We choose to never give up hope, because God, the One who created us is still living among us.
We wait patiently while hurting people grieve, giving them space to do so in their own way.
We hold on patiently while justice is served, knowing that love can and will have the last word, regardless of the outcome.
We delay judgment, refusing to broad-brush and alienate others based on their unique place in this world.
We put on love first, because love is first of all patient.
We remember that the example our Savior set for us was that others will know us by the way we love one another. If we hate, cast judgment, fuel anger and envy, we’ll keep on perpetuating the violence. If we put on love, goodness, kindness, peace and patience, we’ll leave a lasting memory like the setting sun, and others will start hoping and believing that the sun will shine again.
Will you join me in being a positive and patient influence in the world around us? Let’s pray, let’s hope, let’s patiently wait with joyful anticipation for the sun to shine again.