“Oft in Sorrow…”

oft in woe,
Onward Christian, onward go.
Fight the fight, maintain the strife,
Strengthened with the Bread of Life.”

There have been way too many hashtags on my twitter feed this past month:

#Dallas
#PiedmontParkHanging
#PhilandoCastile
#AltonSterling
#Baghdad
#Bangladesh
#Orlando

These acts of violence are unfathomable. To watch people’s lives gunned down on camera and to see mothers and fathers mourn for their lost children is heartbreaking. I’ve seen many of my friends on social media express anger, sadness, confusion, fear, depression, and despair. I have also equally seen many Christians express these same feelings and fears. Questions are spreading throughout my newsfeed, questions like, “How could someone do something this horrific?” and “What is going to happen to our country?” But, the question I have seen the most is:

“What should I do now?”

If you are a Christian, then the answer is simple:  You do the things you should have been doing all along, serving Christ and loving others.

If your hope is in Christ, then you should not be surprised by these events. Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.”

The cause of these horrific events is simple:  It’s sin in the hearts of fallen men and women.

This world is fallen, it’s people are fallen. Our world has rebelled against its Creator and sought its own way; sin is the result of that. The same sin that caused men to shoot at police officers at a protest caused officers to shoot and kill men who looked differently than them. The same sin that caused a group of militants to attack a mall during a religious holiday caused a man to take an automatic weapon into a club and open fire. The world is a broken, sinful place.

But, there is a great hope, and that is Christ. Scripture teaches that Christ is the one who has overcome sin, overcome death, and is making the world whole again. Do you believe that? Do you believe that you are lost in sin? Do you believe that this world’s only hope, that your only hope, is in Jesus Christ?

If you do, then your next step in the face of all this tragedy is simple:  You keep going.

We will mourn with the Dallas police force, and with the families of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and with our black brothers and sisters, and with Muslim communities, and with the LGBT community, and with anyone who is facing insurmountable grief. We will love them, where they are at, and we will tell them and point them to the Cross. We will direct them to the pierced hands and feet, the crown of thorns, the blood of the Lamb, and we will trust our salvation on the Lord because the Lord has defeated sin and will have the final victory.

In Revelation 21, God promises victory over the world. He will dwell with His people and wipe every tear from their faces for sin and death will be no more. Christ will have the final victory.

The lyrics posted above are from a hymn called, “Oft in Sorrow.” It is one of my favorite hymns that encourages Christians to continue the fight of faith in the midst of great despair. I’m going to leave a link to the song below, but I want to end this post with this stanza:

Let your drooping hearts be glad. March in heavenly armor clad.
Fight, nor think the battle long. Victory soon shall be your song.”

Christian, the battle is not long, and the battle is not lost. We have victory in Christ. Live in that victory. Live in that victory so boldly that in the face of great fear and sadness you will love those who need love and point them to the ultimate freedom of Christ.

Oft in Sorrow

 

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