There's a lot of bad news.
This morning our local paper reported that the police stopped a man from jumping off of the Mississippi River bridge yesterday afternoon. That news comes on the heels of a report from the weekend revealing that the suicide rate here in Adams County is 36% higher than the national average and 25% higher than the state average--15 in 100,000 deaths compared to 11 in 100,000 and 12 in 100,000, respectively. The newspaper named three factors in particular that fuel this situation: poverty, drugs, and lack of education.
Of course the well-educated, upper or middle class individual who's not dogged by substance abuse will take his life too. The tragic news about Matthew Warren last week is evidence enough of that.
And the other headlines today, obviously, are about the explosions in Boston yesterday. At this point, 3 people have died and scores have been injured and hospitalized. Someone poured out their malice and spite in one tremendous act of violence on people he probably didn't know, just lashing out at the world, at whomever he could reach.
What do you say in the face of these things?
What do you say to depression and despair, addiction and poverty, suicide and the survivors?
What do you say to rage and violence, terror and murder--and the survivors?
And not only in Natchez, in Boston, in the United States.
What do you say to earthquakes in Iran and Pakistan? Or the bombings in Iraq on Monday, or the on-going violence in Syria, where a million people (500,000 children) have been displaced by the carnage?
There's bad news, horrific, heart-breaking news, coming from all over the world. Every day. Constantly. What can you say to all of this?
You want to look for solutions--counseling and medication for depression, education and aid for those in need of them, negotiations and peace after years of conflict. And sometimes 'solutions' really can solve things, though often they cannot.
You want to offer comfort and sympathy to those left behind, those wracked with grief and questions, and those still in the middle of it all, still unsure, still hurting, still in danger. And sometimes a person can take comfort from our gestures and considerations, but often they cannot.
We should work towards 'solutions' and strive to offer consolation to people who are suffering, but that's not all we can do--not even the best thing we can do.
We should pray, "come, Lord Jesus!"
Because that's when the healing comes. In Christ, our work here and now is not in vain, but the lives that are broken and bruised and torn that we work to treat now, then these lives will be made new, made whole. The fires of conflict and unrest are going to be dowsed with the waters from the spring of life. The forces of evil that infect our world today will be crushed beneath the throne of God that comes down from heaven when God comes to dwell with his people and wipe away their tears, when death and mourning and crying and pain will be no more.
There's a day coming (and I really believe this) when all things will be made new, when all the bad news will be no more--it'll be replaced with good news. We work against the bad, work towards the good now, but only God can complete that work.
So please, God. Come, Lord Jesus.