Torrential rainfall may have led to a freak accident on Tuesday. An overpass collapsed in Genoa, Italy, leaving at least thirty-eight people dead and fifteen injured. Dozens of vehicles were cast toward the ground as part of the accident, and hundreds of emergency workers and firefighters are still searching for survivors within the rubble.
In the midst of such unpredictable tragedy, we turn to stories like that of Gianluca Ardini, who claims a miraculous escape from the accident after a blast of air threw him out from under the falling wreckage. Rescuers were able to bring him down from the bridge via ropes. His companion, tragically, had already fallen to his death.
The world’s response to tragedy
It is this one-in-forty survival story that allows emergency responders to still “speak of not giving up hope, although they accept there is very little chance anyone will now be found alive.” It is this attitude of hopefulness that we must strive to maintain as believers who live in a fallen world.
Just this week, forty-eight were killed in the suicide bombing of an education center in Kabul, Afghanistan. Many were teenagers preparing for another semester of university. At the same time, at least seventy-three were killed by heavy monsoon rains in the Indian state of Kerala.
How is it that God calls us to live amid such tragedy?
The world’s response to tragedy is hopelessness. Over seventy people were arrested on Tuesday night next to Yale University’s campus after overdosing on a new strain of marijuana laced with fentanyl, a lethal painkiller in even the smallest doses. People know the world is not as it should be, but escapism is only a temporary cure-all.
Our hope is in eternity.
The world we live in would tell us that hope is closely tied to doubt. To say “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow” carries with it a fear that it will likely rain. For the firefighters in Italy, to say they hope they find more survivors shows their doubt that any remain.
Biblical hope is something entirely different.
It conveys a state of confidence, security, and lack of worry. Doubt has nothing to do with it! Hebrews 11:1 tells us “now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith then, the foundation upon which we build our entire relationship with Christ, is realized in a lasting hope, a deep knowledge of our position as beloved children of God the Father.
Biblical hope, then, is a reality in which we constantly live, a knowledge of what we know will come to pass. Our response to tragedy as believers is not to bank on God making things better now but to look forward to what we know he has promised.
The believer’s response to tragedy
I am praying alongside all of you, “hoping” more survivors are drawn forth from that rubble. I am praying for those who lost everything in that monsoon, for the families of those who were killed in that bombing, and for the salvation of those who have turned to marijuana as a means of self-medicating.
Ultimately, though, I am hoping for the day that I know is coming. The day when, as Hebrews 9:28 says, “Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
Join me in making this hope our ultimate hope.
Let us live not in fear of what tomorrow may bring or in despair at the tragedy surrounding us, but confident in God and his overwhelming love for his people. Let the knowledge of what he has already accomplished on the cross drive the way we interact with those around us, especially toward those who are in desperate need of a hope we know is coming.
A note from Jim:
Steven Longoria is writing today’s Daily Article. Steven is an aspiring teacher and writer with a degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. He has worked for three years with Denison Forum, serving as our Technology Manager.
He is halfway toward completing his Masters in Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, then plans to pursue a PhD and continue following God’s ministry call for himself and his wife, Alex. I am grateful for his gifts and know you will benefit from his article today.