Smother evil with hope

Published 11:51 pm Saturday, November 12, 2011

Guest Column by Pastor Chris Surber

It has been well said that not to have had pain is not to have been human. If there is anything that is common to all of human experience, it is pain, tragedy and loss. Recently our community has seen one of its lights extinguished as 39-year-old Deborah Wigg was apparently murdered and then, according to all of the evidence currently available, her killer ended his own life — leaving two small children without a mother or a father in this world.

While my heart aches for these children and our community, perhaps you, like me, are not as shocked by this as I wish that I were. Violence on this scale has sadly become a regular occurrence in our society. We are no longer shocked by matters such as this, and I am equally concerned that as a result of our callousness we no longer seek or find hope in such painful times.

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I grieve for these children who have been orphaned, by all indications by the one who was supposed to protect and provide for them. Though my heart is broken, I remain hopeful that through this tragedy the same God who allowed His Son Jesus to suffer and die on that revoltingly beautiful cross has desperate compassion upon these children. My hope grows out of a conviction that one day He will bring beauty from the ashes of their broken lives.

I don’t blame God, because this is a consequence of the choice of his creatures. It is not His perfect will for them. I’m not disappointed with God, because in allowing His Son to suffer He identified with us and showed us in no uncertain terms that He is at war with the sources of suffering in this world. God hates injustice. He despises brokenness. Jesus conquered death and one day will consume it entirely! Even while the fog of tragedy clouds our eyes, there is hope.

There is hope when our community is grieved to the point of intolerance with all forms of such violence. There is hope when as a community we open our eyes to the needs around us and do our very best to prevent such and similar violence.

We grieve. And we should. Friends, I invite you to allow your grief to bring our community closer together across all that divides us. I believe that we are a people who will bring hope from tragedy as we turn our hearts toward God in sorrow for our own complacency with regard to violence in the home and in our community.

I trust that we are a community of people who will shower these orphaned children with more than a week’s worth of sympathy until the next tragic occurrence in the news takes our attention. I am hopeful that as we grieve together, we will learn that the only way to conquer evil is to smother it with love and drown it with hope.

Chris Surber is the pastor at Cypress Chapel Christian Church. Email him at