Where do we turn in the midst of chaos? Or rather, where should we turn? 2017 seems to be a year of tragedy unlike America has experienced in quite some time. We have seen many natural disasters take place. Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have killed over 150 people and left nearly 70,000 people homeless. Wildfires have spread across the U.S. this year taking out over 2 million acres of land, leaving 2017 to be one of the worst years of wildfires the country has seen. And recently, the mass shooting in Las Vegas left nearly 60 people dead and over 500 people injured.
We can all agree that we can’t wait for 2018 to get here, hoping that it will be a better year than this one has been. But still, 2017 isn’t over. We stand together, united as one, passing along the phrases “Pray for Texas,” “Pray for Florida,” “Pray for Las Vegas” on our social media accounts.
From the late 1700’s in the days of the American Revolution up to 9/11 and beyond, Americans have loved to use the phrase “United We Stand.” And now in this time we need it more than ever. And another phrase—“In God We Trust”—has been with us since our early days as a country. Both precepts have proven to be vital to the heartbeat of America. Hard times have always been a part of America’s history, and sometimes we fail to remember that these mottos (which are more than words—but actions and attitudes of the heart) keep us strong and are what make America great today. The hard times will never stop coming, but it’s how we act in these moments that reveal our true character.
It is time for the people of America to trust God and stand in unity by helping one another in whatever way we can. We may not have the means to give thousands of dollars or even a dime. But we have the power to love one another, to be there for each other and encourage one another. I have seen so many people here in Jacksonville come together in the days following Hurricane Irma, and want other states to know that we stand with you too. We are praying for you, for your losses and for your struggles that you are facing.
There is a Scripture found in Colossians 2:2-3 that states, “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” We can only find the treasure and the truth by being united in love.
With each one of the disasters that have devastated our country recently—the egregious event in Las Vegas at the forefront right now—our hearts are truly broken. But, by first uniting ourselves in love, healing will surely follow. May our prayer be to stand together, united as one. May love be the root of our lives, and may we be the antidote to the hard times…and the hard times to come. Let us encourage one another to the best of our ability and shine the light in the darkness so that others may be strengthened and pay it forward.