JC’s Stride: Reason to hope in spite of the chaos around us

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Almost every day, someone sends me an email about the latest outrage in the culture.

“I was shocked by how degrading of women it was,” one reader wrote to tell me of something he’d seen on television.

Joyce Coronel is a regular contributor to The Catholic Sun and author of “A Martyr’s Crown.” Opinions expressed are the writers' and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.
Joyce Coronel is a regular contributor to The Catholic Sun and author of “A Martyr’s Crown.” Opinions expressed are the writers’ and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

Another reader wrote to alert me to a “Bible” aimed at children that ridicules the faith in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

The comment zone that followed a Facebook post about a babysitter who went unpunished after abusing a child was exploding with angry rhetoric. One person summed up his thoughts succinctly: “I have literally no faith in humanity anymore. We are doomed as a species.”

And that, my friends, is a dangerous place to be. Our enemy the devil “prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls,” as the Prayer to St. Michael reminds us.

One of his best tactics is to discourage us and rob us of hope. It’s when we’ve lost all hope that we’re vulnerable to despair and precariously close to throwing away the precious gift of life. In 2014, more than 42,000 Americans took their own lives. That’s a lot of hopelessness!

Still, there’s a kernel of truth in the comment on Facebook. If our faith is in humanity, things are looking rather desperate. Human persons, though by the grace of God capable of heroic love, will regularly disappoint us. If we have placed our faith in a person, we have built on sand. No matter how much you love someone, you’re going to be disappointed at times. (For proof of this, ask any newlywed. Trust me, marriage rookies, you won’t love your spouse during that first year anywhere near as much as you will in the years to come.)

Yet God chose to come into the world clothed in our frail humanity. He was like us in all things but sin and if we decide to walk beside Him daily, we will find hope, even in the midst of crisis and tragedy.

A few weeks ago, I opened my eyes and began the day as I do each morning, surrendering everything to the Lord Jesus. And then an amazing thing happened. As I stood there in my closet, an overwhelming sense of God’s all-powerful love came over me. I immediately sat down and immersed myself in the moment. I didn’t realize until later on that it was the Lord strengthening and preparing me for some troubling news on two fronts: a dear friend would be diagnosed that day with a brain tumor and another friend revealed that her marriage of 20 years was on the verge of breakup.

It was the love I encountered in the midst of an ordinary moment that filled me with hope and carried me through a day of heartache.

Where do you turn when you’re heartbroken over tragic news? What do you do when you’re upset with the injustice and the corruption in our world? Do you find yourself mired in hopelessness and fear? If so, then you are giving the enemy a stronghold in your life.

As followers of Christ, we find our strength and our hope in His victory over death. No matter how grim the news, no matter how appalling the latest trend in the culture, we trust in His tender care to see us through every storm.

For those angry at the immense injustices of our time, grab hold of hope in Christ. Let that hope strengthen you to fight for justice and defend the weak. Don’t let anger rob you of the joy that God intends for every heart that trusts in Him.

Hang onto your hats, my fellow believers, because the road ahead looks like a wild ride. Remember to cast all your cares on the One who holds us in the palm of His hand. Focus on the words of St. Paul to the Romans: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace and believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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