This week, the world watched in horror as a weapon-laden truck drove through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, France, killing over 80 people and wounding countless others. You’ve seen the images on the news, watched the footage of bystanders running in terror, felt the pain as it has rippled from France to us all. The loss at Nice is a deep wound on top of a deep wound we’ve been trying to heal for years. It doesn’t seem to be going away.
Over the past few months, hate crime has become commonplace. Mass murder, terrorism, and tragedy have ceased to be strangers to us, and we’re flocking to social media to ask each other why, to make sense of it. At the end of the decade, the amount of #PrayFor hashtags we’ve tacked onto our tweets and the number of temporary profile pictures we’ve made in honor of the lost may be more than we can count. It seems to be the best most of us know how to do, along with asking, When is this going to end? After Nice, I’ve seen the response shift to, This will never end. It’s going to get worse. There is no hope.
That sentiment is a reason for all of us to take pause.
The truth that we forget, and the truth that the world desperately needs for us to share right now, is that there is hope. That hope is not found from societies that rise and fall, from sympathetic hashtags that tell the world “I’m with you.” That hope is found in a god who chose mortality to carry the burden of hate, sin, sadness, and pain so that we could obtain infinite peace. That hope is found in a groundbreaking, powerful Atonement with enough strength to cover every person who has ever lived and will ever live on this Earth. That hope is the Savior the world has estranged itself from, and though times seem dark and bleak, though the future seems hopeless, He is always there. He knows us. He’s dealt with this. His primary desire is for us to turn to Him and, in doing so, find healing and happiness in spite of this.
There are billions of people in the world right now who do not know that that kind of solace exists. Jesus Christ is a stranger to them, and they don’t know where to turn. They are hurting and weeping. They are confused and heartbroken. They feel there is no hope for them and no hope of ever being with those whom they have lost again. As disciples of Christ, our responsibility is to guide them to Him and give them hope. We cannot forget that the covenants we make every Sunday as we take the Sacrament don’t just include mourning with those who mourn. We also covenant to comfort those who stand in need of comfort. We covenant to always remember the Savior and, I’d add, be proactive about helping others to remember what He has done for them, too.
When we are burdened by the world and the actions of those who seek to cause harm and pain, we can start by finding hope for ourselves from the Savior’s words:
“And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me…
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy…
“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you…
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:3, 20, 22, 33).
When tragedy and devastation happen again (and they will), mourn, but also be a light. Direct the heartbroken to the Savior, who not only overcame the world, but did so that we could, too. He is our hope and He is our happiness. His Atonement ensures us lasting peace and the joy of reunification with those we love.
Help others to find Him, and please don’t forget Him. He has never forgotten us.