Albert Einstein once wrote, "In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity."
The past week's turn of events in the greater St. Louis area, has definitely presented us with opportunities and challenges, as we face forward and seek ways to make a difference for the good; to leave a lasting impact on those around us who are watching and listening very carefully to the words we say and the actions we take.
Just as everyone else, I struggle to make sense of the irrational behavior and aggression towards authority and those who might have differing opinions in all that has happened, as well as the blatant disrespect in general for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of our fellow man. However, the Bible does not sugar coat its description of what many believe as the last days, or end times before Christ's return:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. -- 2 Timothy 3:1-5
With that said, how do we combat that? What do we do ? Can we do anything? Is there hope?
Each of us reside in a sphere of influence. Though our boundary lines may grow or shrink with our seasons of life, we have the power to affect those around us positively or negatively. Some of us live in large towns and neighborhoods, while others of us live in small communities. Some have been brought up to always be on the defensive side of life, while others can look for the good. Either way, however, we leave footprints in people's lives about who we are as a human being.
A couple of days ago, I watched a short video clip of some folks in our city giving back to the officers and first responders who are spending every waking hour trying to keep peace and insure the safety of the general public. These volunteers have chosen to gather snacks and other supplies to show their appreciation to men and women working the streets.
I also read about a group organizing food and other personal hygiene items for children stuck in the backlash of all the unrest...children who cannot attend school where they would ordinarily receive food, security and love.
It's simple acts of kindness like these that cancel out some of the negative behavior. These folks have rose to the occasion and are choosing to be a difference, not just make one. They are influencing others by their kindness and love.
Secondly, there is always hope with Christ. Times are tough right now. Circumstances and happenings within our world can cause us to feel discouraged and downtrodden, yet the Bible reminds us of His love with these words:
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. - Psalm 62:5-6
Wherever you are today...whatever your status or position, we do have a responsibility to influence those around us, especially the next generation for the good. So, it starts with me and with you. We must decide to put away our own agendas and personal preferences, and pick up the torch to honor God and help others.
Together, we can make a difference.