Take time to recognize good in a world marred by dark news
With constant reports and graphic video of violence, death and destruction that seems to occurs in each corner of the world, and with talking heads focused on ensuring each event is described in dramatic, foreboding tones, it is easy to fall into a state of despair.
Soon we, too, become victims: victims of forces that seem out of control, too big for us to address and even impossible, at times, to comprehend.
What is difficult is to maintain is a true balance, a balance that, in addition to acknowledging the darkness of the world, also acknowledges the light. Achieving such a balance takes work. It requires proactively seeking out the good that is happening in and around us, and sharing it with others.
As those who call ourselves Christ-followers, we seek to emulate the approach of Jesus. Often surrounded by crowds of people who were lost, or broken, sick or outcast, Jesus saw each as one of worth and value.
Rejected and attacked by those threatened by his new worldview, Jesus did not succumb to despair. Rather, he saw the world worth redeeming. He did not give up, rather responded in love.
So Christ-followers also seek to respond in love and part of this is to focus on highlighting beauty and blessings that come our way every day.
This is not to say we ignore or minimize the hurt and pain in the world. Rather we strive to balance it all by acknowledging that there is a multiple of good and wonderful things that occur.
It is these things we share with others as moments of God-given grace.
A friend, who often gets pulled down by the struggles of work, the constant stream of news of destruction, and the challenge of living a life worthy of the claim of Christ on his life, has found his way of reclaiming balance.
Each morning as he starts his work day, he goes to the edge of the marsh where he can witness the rising of the sun. There he takes time to simply thank God for one more day and for the gifts of the beauty all around that is exposed as the light increases and the dark retreats.
Often this friend will capture the scene, and pass it along to others, giving praise to God for the wonder of the new day. It is his way of recalling the ancient truth captured in Lamentations: "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because God's compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
And that truth is sufficient for him to walk into a new day.
May it be so for you and me, this day.
Pete Berntson is the pastor of Church of the Palms United Methodist Church in Okatie.