Three tragedies and unseen truths

Justin Moffatt

It's been a tough month for some Sydney families.

Brenda Lin buried her family last week, after the tragic murders in North Epping on July 18.
"¢ The family of David Catts farewelled their son at the Cathedral, after a fall from a Brisbane Hotel on July 23.
"¢ The community of Ingleburn is grappling with a tragic road accident resulting in the death of a school girl on August 5.

News like this is always dreadful. But somehow it remains remote unless you have direct contact with the families. In these three circumstances, like many others, I had some contact:

"¢ I bought a Herald from Min Lin and Yun Li Lin in Epping each day for two months when we arrived back in Sydney in February. The Parish of North Epping has held a special community time to comfort those shaken by the violence.
"¢ I went to school with David Catts. I did not know him well, for he was a few years ahead of me. One of my good friends, Stephen Calder, now serving in Bobbin Head Anglican Church, took the funeral.
"¢ I am relatively removed from Ingleburn. But the little girl was in the Ingleburn Anglican Church, where my friend Joe Wiltshire tells me they met yesterday to grieve the loss of young life.

It would seem appropriate, then, to meditate on Romans 8, a chapter that speaks boldly of Hope in the face of a world groaning. And yet, the Apostle says in verses 24-25 of those who hope in Christ:

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

What can't we see, then? What can't we see that we wait for with patience?
1. We can't see the new hope God has planned for his creation.

Verses 19-22: For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

What else is invisible to us?

2. We can't see the Spirit interceding for those who believe.

Verse 26: Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

3. We can't see the path God has us on.

Verses 28-29: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.

When events like these are brought near, the only thing to do is open the eyes of faith to wait patiently for what you cannot see. For our God is good.