Thankful for Love in the Midst of Hate & Light in the Midst of Darkness

I have had a goal for this month -- to write a gratitude post every day.

Finding thirty reasons to be thankful isn't a challenge. I am grateful for big and little things every day. The challenge is writing thoughtful posts that hopefully inspire gratitude in others.

I started writing yesterday what I thought would be this morning's gratitude post. And then the images from Paris hit the news and social media. Horrific, barbaric atrocities committed by human beings who are so filled with hatred that they hunt and kill innocent civilians; complete strangers who are simply living their lives and hurting no one. Many (if not most) of the victims in Paris last night were young people enjoying a concert.

The goal is not simply death and destruction. The goal is to strike fear into the hearts of everyone watching worldwide. And as much as I know we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear, that we must continue to live our lives, I can't deny feeling fearful. I no longer want to travel overseas the way I used to imagine traveling one day. And yet I know that staying within our borders will not guarantee my safety either.

On 9/11, people lost their lives after traveling only to work or boarding a domestic flight. In Boston, people showed up for a marathon.

At times like this, the world feels dark and scary.

How to write about gratitude today after my eyes, ears and heart have been bombarded by these dark and depressing images ... that is my challenge.

Obviously, I'm thankful to be safe (for now). I'm thankful for those who escaped unharmed. But it has always felt uncomfortable for me (especially as a Christian) to be thankful for being personally spared the suffering that someone else is currently suffering, in spite of the obvious relief that we all feel when "this" thing -- whatever tragedy it may be -- is not happening to us or our loved ones.

As I sat down in front of my laptop this morning, news playing in the background, I thought about what I am most thankful for on this specific morning.


Love in the midst of hate. Light in the midst of darkness. The peace we can only have in our hearts because we know the love of Christ.

Like most of you, I want our government to take these threats seriously and do everything possible to protect our homeland. But I know we will not drive out hatred and darkness through military strength alone, or by electing the right leaders (whoever we think they are).

Desperate people will continue to give their lives to destruction that includes self-destruction. Human beings whose purpose in life is to bring death and fear to the world are without hope. They perpetrate vengeance and violence on those they imagine as their enemy. But we who know the love of Christ are never without hope. We must always remember that our calling is love and light in this dark world.

Hatred is not the answer to hatred. Don't give in to hate.

Only love is stronger than hate. 
Only light is stronger than darkness. 

I don't know how much darker the world will get, 
but I do know that love will win. 
Redemption from this broken world is coming.

Every day and especially today, I'm thankful for the love and light that cannot be extinguished by hatred and darkness. 

The One who IS love and light cannot be extinguished from our hearts.