where there is despair, hope


Attributed to St Francis of Assisi, this phrase came immediately to mind as I wrestled with how I should respond to the three air disasters of recent memory (with the loss of innocent lives of women, men and children – rich and poor, professional and ordinary folk, families and singles); the advance of ISIS/Islamic State/DAESH and its outrageous disregard for human life – with its ongoing murderous crusade within the Cradle of Christianity in the Middle East including Iraq, Syria, Africa and other Places (with its affiliate gangs of bloody minded hoodlums) and its targeting many cultural, historic and archaeological sites;  the wild and destructive weather patterns worldwide;  rising resentment in Europe and elsewhere regarding immigrant refugees; and even here in Australia,  as our politicians turn up the heat on each other as they bicker over the state of the economy ….

And so the list goes on (thanks to the 24 hour media cycle) !

Where do I find “hope” amidst all this “despair” ? How is it that I feel so “helpless” in the face of such vulnerability?

The answers seem elusive; my prayer appears in vain:

“…O God…why have you forsaken us…”

I feel at times overtaken with a deep sense of foreboding and hope “lessness” – evil seems to have triumphed (the desecration of bodies of passengers aboar MH17…the looting and robbery of the homes of Christians in Mosul, Iraq….the bombardment of Israel by Hamas….)

A Survivor performs songs he composed in a Camp 1965


Is there any “glimmer of light ”?!

Where are you God in all of this ?!?!

I am reminded of a story from a World war II Concentration Camp:

as a young boy was being executed, a huddled group of praying inmates were watching from a distance. One of them exclaimed,” Where is God!? Why doesn’t he DO something?!?!” To which a rabbi, himself a fellow prisoner replies,”There he is, swinging at the end of the rope”.

Amidst the suffering of this world, we believe we are not alone and abandoned; we just need to recognise amidst “the misery and the chaos”, the Presence of the One who became one of us, who says,  ’’I am with you always, yes, even to the end of the world…”