Is There Hope In These Dark Times?

Is There Hope In These Dark Times?

In a time when our country is turning on itself, what do you turn to?
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Over the past few weeks, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have exploded with the opinions of millions on the recent events in Minnesota, Louisiana and Dallas. Movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter have been supported, debated, argued, attacked. Our society is confused, hurt and panicking.

In the midst of this, our country is torn between two presidential candidates who have seemingly created more controversy than support. Hilary Clinton is clearly an intelligent woman. However, the FBI’s recent investigation of her emails during her time as secretary of state found her “extremely careless.” Though the director of the FBI did not recommend charges, the damage to her reputation has caused 67 percent of voters to find her untrustworthy, according to the New York Times. As for Donald Trump, no one can deny he’s a successful businessman. Yet, his childish behavior during interviews and debates, as well as his openly racist and sexist comments, have not created a favorable image. As a result, he’s not far behind Hilary in the public’s distrust, with 62 percent finding him untrustworthy, according to the same New York Times article.

So, here we are, America. We’re sitting in a big pot of turmoil and unrest, with a wonderful side of division. And a dash of hatred, just for taste.

Yet, all of this brokenness in our political and social world is not surprising; it’s expected. For some, I’m sure it’s terrifying. It might feel like it’s the end of the world. It’s not. Yes, I am saddened by the state our country is in. The amount of corruption and violence and hatred is horrifying. This is the kind of thing you read about in history books and think, Goodness, I’m glad I didn’t have to live through that. Over the past few weeks, the brokenness of our world has become a constant fixture in the news. But it’s not surprising or unexpected or the end of the world. It’s simply the evidence of an age-old fact: People need hope in something greater than this world.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

My war is not with the people around me. It’s not with the people who have different opinions than me. It’s not with the people who post those violently worded opinions on social media. It’s not with the people who have caused so much pain by acting out on their hatred. It’s not with corrupt and untrustworthy politicians. No, my war is not with them.

My war is with the spiritual forces of evil. My war is with sin. My war is with the very real demons who have turned the hearts of this nation, a nation once dedicated to God. But really, it isn’t a war. The war was won two thousand years ago when a man, who was also fully God, perfect and blameless, died on a Roman cross. He was crucified by his own design. He died of his own free will, as the ultimate sacrifice for his creation’s sin. Three days later, when he rose again, the war was won. The death of sin had been conquered, for all who would accept the salvation he offered. So the war is over. But the battle still rages. We’re still fighting.

Those forces of evil would have us believe that we’re fighting each other, that another person or organization or movement or government is our ultimate enemy. Don’t listen. We are not each other’s enemies.

My hope is not in the world or the people in it. My hope is in the one who created the world. My hope is not in any governmental system or politician. My hope is in the one who created governments and the countries they rule and the very land on which they stand.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

That is my hope. That is my assurance. I have faith in the God who created this nation, this government and every person around me. Some might ask, If you believe in God, where is he in all of this? Oh, trust me, he’s here. He’s working. He hasn’t turned his back on us. He’s certainly not turned his back on me. Our God controls all things, but he is not a controlling God. He lets people make their own decisions, and he lets them face the consequences of those decisions. Our country has decided to turn its back on God and now we’re facing the consequences. This, my friends, is what a country without faith looks like. This is what a country without hope looks like. So, yes, in this time of turmoil, I fear for our country’s fate. I do not fear for myself, for my hope is in something greater.

Cover Image Credit: WordPress

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

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Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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