What a week. The phrase “shattered but still hopeful” is on my mind. Almost 300 killed by bombs in Baghdad. Economic and leadership turmoil in the U.K. after the decision to leave the European Union. Continued polarization in the United States, now deepened even more by tragic killings in Minnesota, Louisiana and Texas. In our family, my wife’s brother slowly recovering with brain injuries from a hiking accident.
For many across the world, there are shattered lives and dreams this past week. There is deep fear of the future, fear that is leading to anger and even violence. In times like this, whether in our personal lives, families or nations, it is important to find hope for the future in a bigger perspective, a longer one. Yes, this is a hard time. But there have been hard times before. Hope comes from yielding to a greater context than our present circumstances. Not to escape the present, but to look back at the present from an eternal hope. A hope that brings an energy into the present. A hope I believe that is found in Jesus.
Fear doesn’t bring it, it shuts that hope off. Anger, whether on a personal level or for our race or nation, narrows us into dark places that do not lead to redemption but to endless cycles of violence.
This week I’m reminded of a painting my niece did for me a few years ago. (Thanks Sara). You can see it at the beginning of this post. It is of a bird, clearly wounded and held in hands. Shattered. Is the bird dead? Or only wounded? What do you see?
In the house where I grew up, there was a large picture window. I still remember as a child hearing several times a loud bang on the window. When I ran to look out the window, there would be a small bird lying below. I felt so bad, but every time I remember, after a little while the bird would slowly move. Then stretch its wings. Then fly away!
The little bird was stunned, perhaps wounded. Yet it flew away. Yes, there are times when birds hit windows and do not survive. There are very deep tragedies this week and families permanently shattered. Yet even then there is a hope coming from an eternal perspective. We must reach out to the greater context, a life beyond death.
Is the bird wounded and shattered? Is the bird dead? Either way, the hands continue to hold.