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Hate Will Not Have the Final Say. A Note of Hope in a Tragic Week

British MP Jo Cox’s murder yesterday sent the nation into shock, halted the EU referendum campaign, and sparked spontaneous vigils last night. The loss of a young wife, mother, politician and humanitarian, applauded by all as a woman of astounding compassion – not to mention the 49 killed and 53 others injured in the Orlando tragedy on Sunday – can leave us wondering about the existence of a good and loving God.

Here is the message I shared on BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought segment this morning. In the end, hate will not have the final say.

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Pause for Thought, Friday June 17, 2016

The universe is a place of astonishing grandeur. Picture the moon spinning around us at 2300 miles an hour. Picture us spinning around the sun at 66,000 miles an hour. Our sun is one of 200 million other suns and trillions more planets in the Milky Way, and each one of those suns and planets is spinning around our galaxy at 483,000 miles an hour. Picture millions of carousels all swirling round in one great luminous sea—that’s our galaxy. And that galaxy is just one of 100 billion other galaxies hurtling through space.

The universe is mind-bogglingly immense. In comparison, our little earth is no bigger than a pebble, and our individual lives no greater than a grain of sand. And yet according to the Christian faith I follow, the God who keeps those galaxies spinning picks out that pebble, looks at each microscopic person on it and says: “I’m here. I care. I’m listening.” Jesus said every hair on our heads has been counted by God; that He knows the words of any prayer we pray before we say them. The One who keeps those carousels spinning knows us in intimate, caring detail.

That’s all very nice to say, but it can be hard to believe on weeks like this—when 49 people are murdered and 53 more are injured in the Orlando tragedy. When a French policeman and his wife are killed in another Islamist attack. When a young Yorkshire MP—applauded by all who knew her as a wife, mother, politician and humanitarian of astounding compassion—is killed so brutally. We can wonder how God was caring for them in intimate detail.

We know a little about what motivates Islamist-style hate crimes. In days to come, we may know more about the motives of Jo Cox’s killer. But many questions will be left unanswered. This tiny pebble of a world has big problems, and there are no easy answers to human suffering.

When the biblical character Job went through tragedy, losing his health, livelihood and family, he was given few answers. Instead he was shown the beauty of the world as evidence of God’s goodness. When Jesus spoke of our hairs being numbered, he didn’t speak naively. His was an era of racial turmoil and terrorism—even crucifixion.

Brendan Cox gave a brave response to his wife’s murder last night. He said he, his family and friends were going to work every day of their lives against the hate that killed Jo. I want to join him. Because for me, the grandeur of the universe says this world wasn’t built by or for hate, but by and for a love that’s brighter than the stars. And Jesus’ resurrection from death leads me to believe this venture won’t be in vain. Hate will not have the final say. Love will win out in the end.

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  • Sandra Woodhall

    Thank you for such beautiful words and for helping us to see a bigger picture; that our Abba Father is the God of love and of such a deep and infinite love for each one of us. He is also the God of a universe that is beyond our wildest imaginings. We will never see, never know the full beauty of all the stars, planets and galaxies He made and that sing their own song of worship and praise to Him. Just look up at the stars tonight and be reminded of how great our God is.

    We live in the ‘end days’ where evil and hate will come BUT Jesus has already won victory over all of those things, we are sons and daughters of the King. Because Jesus hung on a cross we can know that victory, live in that victory and not live in fear of what we see and hear on the news.

    Instead, pray for Brendan Cox and the children who are grieving and mourning their terrible loss, pray for the man who killed Jo, Tommy Mair; pray for the 49 young men and women murdered in Orlando but also for the man who killed them and hurt so many. That’s what we are called to be – compassionate (even when we don’t think it is deserved) and to love, even those who perpetrate such evil. Easy to say, yes I know, but so very, very hard to do.

    We have to choose to do those things, it must be an act of our will sometimes, but I believe God will honour our choice, especially when it is so very, very hard for us to do.