In a letter to a national newspaper recently, the correspondent wrote that the news on television had become so terrible, it was now turned off before it started.
Perhaps we can understand this. Recent events are enough to make anyone despair.
Pictures of people huddled on the top of a mountain in Iraq, driven there because of their religion; the awful destruction and death in Gaza and the grief of relatives mourning passengers in an aeroplane shot down over the Ukraine predominate our news reports as I write this article.
We wonder how all this can happen and what, on earth, can be done to make the world a better place.
At the same time, we are remembering the horrific conflict that started just 100 years ago and changed not just the shape of war but also the world we inhabit.
It was called at the time “the War to end all wars”, yet, of course, it did nothing of the kind.
I know there are people who, viewing the cruelty that is clearly in the world, ask how there can be a God who allows such things to happen.
I have the greatest sympathy with their point of view. I am also aware that religion has been the cause of many bad things.
Yet I also know in my heart that a real understanding of God is able to change the world for the better.
This may seem trite, and I know it might appear so. However, I also can appreciate why God might not intervene.
This doesn’t mean He is a dispassionate or uncaring God, because I believe He weeps with us and mourns our failings.
I believe we human beings are made in the image of this God and called to have His compassion and love towards our fellow human beings.
It is not for us to demand that God sort out the horror of the world. Rather it is for us, each and every one of us, to do all we can to make a difference, in attitude, in practice, and in thinking.
We may feel this is beyond us, and I appreciate this thinking. However, we are also the people of the world and our opinion matters.
Paul wrote: “We know all things work together for good for those who love God.” (Romans 8:28a NSV). If every good and concerned soul would say what they think and stand up for all that is good and true and perfect in the world, then we would make a difference.
We cannot hide behind an excuse that says “it’s all too much for us!”
To make it happen we have to make a sacrifice, just as those who laid down their lives in the First World War made a sacrifice. It certainly takes courage. Yet, is it not a sacrifice worth making?
Let us look to the greater good and to a world rising above the limited restrictions imposed until now.
Let us look to a world where none will go in want and where peace and understanding are the hallmarks of society.
An unrealistic dream? I hope not.
I pray it may be a possibility. And we can make it happen.