James Cook, from the BBC, reporting the day after the mass shootings in San Bernardino on December 2, 2015 wrote these chilling words – “Just another day in the United States of America. Another day of gunfire, panic and fear.”
Not much has changed since then. All across this country, and around the world, hardly a day goes by where some act of violence is not the lead news story of the day. In every community there are the acts of violence that only make that area’s local news. Just this week, in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, a mother shot and killed her two children as they slept, lit the house on fire, then killed herself. And as I write this post, I just received a notification that four people are dead in a murder-suicide at a grocery store in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Marriages are ending in divorce at an alarming rate. Fights take place over some of the most trivial differences. Road rage, racial tensions, arguments over whether or not we should allow refugees and immigrants come into this country; all these things are causing hostilities to regularly boil over.
We think you will agree the world in which we live in is broken and in need of not just some fine tuning but rather, a major overhaul. Let’s never forget that there is much to be thankful for, but sadly those things often get lost in the “bad news of the day.”
Are you feeling hopeless today? You know, that feeling you have that makes it seem like tomorrow will be no better than today. Do the events going on around the world scare you? Maybe it is closer to home and right now you feel as if you are in the deep pit and when you look up the walls seem just too high to climb. Or maybe you feel like a ship in the middle of the ocean, with no motor and no anchor, simply drifting at the mercy of the wind and waves. If today you feel hopeless or that life is spinning out of control, please slowly read these two verses from Hebrews and allow them to soak deep into your soul.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19-20
Those verses say two things. First, like an anchor holds a ship from drifting away, your hope found in Jesus keeps you safe, He is a steadying anchor in the whole of life. And second, the inner sanctuary language in those verses takes us back to the tabernacle in the Old Testament, where a curtain separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place; that very place where God resided, but the people were not allowed to enter it, only the high priest was allowed to enter on behalf of the people. When Jesus died on the cross that curtain was torn in two (see Matthew 27:51) and we now have personal access to God, no longer needing someone to enter on our behalf.
So, what is the takeaway from today’s scripture verses? Our hope is in Jesus and that hope does not depend upon what we can see or feel (or not see or not feel), but rather, our hope reaches into the very presence of God! And with Jesus, there is ALWAYS hope, even when the situation around us looks hopeless!
New Bern, North Carolina