Sharing the Hope for Tomorrow - Trusting God's Will In the Bleakest of MomentsBeginnings Magazine, July/August 1999
- Intentional violence accounts for one-third of all injury deaths in the United States.
- The suicide rate of children has more than doubled in the last 15 years.
- Homicide is the leading cause of death for all teenage boys.
The gruesome story of Columbine High School still haunts us, now months later. No one has forgotten the story about the teens in Littleton, Colorado, who massacred their classmates in a barrage of gun fire and pipe bombs on that bleak day of April 20, 1999. In the wake of their rampage, torn lives and families were left to pick up the pieces and deal with questions that have no answers.
Since that shocking afternoon near Denver we have felt like the family that has lost a loved one. We have searched for the reasons why children kill children and how to stop the encroaching of this culture of death which cruel society has created. We have not stopped asking the questions, hoping one day we might find the answers to still our hearts which ache for the loss of innocence. In the meantime, as if exposing the wounds, the media has exploded with the issues of violence and our youth, dangers of teen peer groups, gun control issues, and how to keep our children safe from it all.
The truth is that we live in a sinful world where the senseless taking of human life is not uncommon, no matter what the age group. Hatred and violence have been around since the fall of man in the garden of Eden. Only now it seems the problem of violence has become more severe because of the heavy exposure to media violence and the increasing availability of weapons. Today the absolute value of God's created life is being compromised more than ever before. Has our society missed one key factor -- respect for the sanctity of life?
The media, the Internet, movies, video games -- society can find many influences to channel the blame. Yet, these influences are hardly the root of the problem. The sad truth remains that as long as the world lacks respect for God and the life He has created, there will be violence. There will be questions that go unanswered. There will be hatred. And there will be sorrow.
Human life has become dispensable, a thing of choice taken too far by the whim of free will. Somehow those Colorado teenagers, bent on violence, assumed life had no more value than they gave it. It was a game that drew them to the edge of right and wrong. They were enticed by evil and darkness and convinced it was somehow favorable to choose death over life. How did they deduce that the taking of human life, others as well as their own, was an acceptable option for a crisis at hand?
Could it be because the taking of human life has been an acceptable option for quite some time now? "This culture of death secured its place in American culture on January 22, 1973 with the legalization of abortion on demand and has taken hold of our children like a deadly infection -- spreading through every facet of their lives," writes Cathy Brown, director of Why Life?. She states, "The pro-life movement has been fighting this culture for over 25 years. Maybe now people will begin to understand why."
Linda Bartlett, President of Lutherans for Life (a pan-Lutheran organization) of Nevada, Iowa, wrote in her article "Pro-Life Christians Make the World a Little Safer," that the violence and neglect of life surfacing in our teens are "quite possibly the consequence of evolutionary teaching and most certainly of life without God. Try as they might, reporters and psychologists will not find a safe covering for life until they look to the Giver of Life." Pro-life Christians must be constant reminders to the world that God gives life meaning and value. Bartlett continues in her article, "When children know that they are not accidents of nature but are personally and lovingly 'knit together in their mothers' womb' by God, then they are able to love themselves and others. When children know that their lives are so valuable that Jesus Christ would die for them, then they have hope for tomorrow."
Hope for tomorrow. Though there are still questions that remain unanswered, hope for tomorrow and eternal life with Christ will get us through these trying times. We should not let the fear of violence run our lives. If we become all_consumed with the worries and fears of this world, then we are not able to focus our efforts on sharing the truth. Our children need to know there is hope beyond this vale of tears that will overcome the troubles of this world. "Therefore we do not lose heart . . . For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:16,17). The world may continue to decay in its values, but we must continue to stand for what is right.
Take time to talk with your children; be a part of their lives. Remember to encourage those who are saddened and discouraged with the promise of eternal life. Leave your worry at the feet of the all-knowing Giver of Life. Trust that His will be done even through the bleakest of moments. And in the darkness of that which we cannot fully understand lies the opportunity for us to share our hope.
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