I love Washington DC, and I love The Capitol building.
Seeing them so disrespected and defaced the way they were two weeks ago today hurt and has, I think, left us all feeling a bit hopeless.
They’re beautiful places. Some like to badmouth them because of the gridlock and corruption that often plagues them, but I’ve always viewed it as a city and building of hope. Reminders of the past surround you on all sides, but as you traverse DC’s streets filled with bustling 20 & 30 somethings moving from building to building, the reminder this is a city moving to the future is inescapable. It also happens to be one of the most wheelchair accessible cities I’ve been to. Don’t get me wrong, it has its issues, but it’s far better than most.
Many times I’ve rolled the halls of The Capitol, alongside my family, as I had the opportunity to meet with Senators & Representatives to request funding for Spinal Muscular Atrophy research. Those halls and meetings represented a hope for a future where the effects of SMA are no more—one, I might add, that’s closer now than ever before.
At one point in my life (and occasionally still), they also represented the hope of a future rolling those halls not as a lobbyist but a lawmaker.
For our country, the halls of The Hill represent the hope of our ability to make a more perfect union. Something we’ve been striving toward for 245 years.
And that house represents the hope we put in the men and women—Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian—we send to Washington to represent us and our hopes for our own lives.
On Wednesday January 6th, however, we saw that hope shattered and trampled.
Not from outside terrorists set against our very way of life, but from our own citizens—incited and misled—who claimed to be protecting the very things they were destroying. It has shaken us all.
We’ve seen this pattern growing. It honestly shouldn’t have surprised us, and for many it didn’t. We’ve seen a shooting on a baseball field, attempted bombings, planned abductions, burnings of police stations, assassinations of police, racial killings, accusations of stolen elections and “the end of the democracy,” all leading up to the attack on The Capitol last Wednesday.
The leaders we put our hope in to guide us, come together, work for us, defuse and rise above the tension have either implicitly or tacitly encouraged it.
The systems we put our hope in—that are supposed to provide us the opportunity to learn, succeed, fail, grow, and provide for our family and others—have been turned and twisted against us for the benefit of those with power.
And finally, the hope we had in each other—that even though we may think, act, look, worship, and vote differently we’re all in this together as Americans—has been pushed to its breaking point. We now question things we thought we could always trust.
The people and things we once put our hope in, we now see can no longer bear the weight.
But that’s just it, isn’t it?
These people and things were never meant to hold the weight of our hopes. Not representatives, nor senators. Not bureaucrats or presidents. Not governments. Not America. Not you or I. They will all—we will all—eventually break under the weight of our own or each other’s hopes.
We all know this is true.
We’ve all put our hope in someone or something that has eventually let us down. It’s inevitable. We simply don’t have the strength or ability to bear the weight of the deepest desires and hopes of our souls. And many times, if we’re honest with ourselves, we knew that let down was coming. We could see and feel it coming.
So in the face of this seemingly inevitable outcome and hopelessness, what are we to do? Is there actually no hope for you and I? Is there nothing where we’ve always thought there was something?
It would be easy to believe that. In fact, I’d say it’s one factor that led to the attack on The Capitol.
When everything you have—your entire identity—is wrapped up in one ideology, party, or person and you’ve been convinced that it’s all being taken from you, is it not conceivable to react violently? All of their hope is in something or someone that’s ending and they couldn’t conceive of or concede to that because it would be to concede themselves. This doesn’t excuse their actions in the slightest. But again, those things were always going to crumble under the weight of their hopes—even if, especially if they had gotten everything they wanted.
So the question persists. Is there anything that can hold the weight of our hope?
I believe the answer is yes!
There has to be hope. There has to be something, because we are something, this country is something, this world and galaxy and universe are all something—and something can’t come from nothing. It’s impossible. And if there is something, from which everything came, would that be something that could hold our hope?
I again believe the answer here is a resounding, emphatic yes, there is!
But it’s not just a some-thing but a some-one, the some-One, and His name is Jesus.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Colossians 1:16-17 (ESV)
In Jesus alone do our hopes find a resting place—the only resting place—that can bear the weight. He is like no other person or thing we put our hope in that will ultimately and inevitably fail, because He is before and after, above and below, in and through all things.
I know, that’s a big claim and it comes with a lot of questions. Unfortunately, I don’t have the room here nor all the answers to all those questions, I still ask many of them myself. Here’s what I can tell you, though. If you’ll take some time and read the words of Jesus—the Bible (specifically the New Testament)—with an open mind and an honest endeavor to seek truth, I’m convinced you’ll find the hope you’re looking for.
One important question I do want to address is, “how can Jesus be so good if such horrible things are done in His name?”
It’s true, there were people at the attack on The Capitol who claimed to be there in the name of Jesus. To be real with you, it infuriates me.
First, I’d say it’s always dangerous to judge anything or anyone by their most extreme elements and supporters. There were also a lot of people waiving the American flag, but we know these people don’t represent the vast majority of us, just like those waiving the Christian flag didn’t represent Jesus or the vast majority of Christians.
Second, if you take even a passing glance at the actual words of Jesus you can see these people haven’t done the same, at least not honestly. Jesus tells us to love God, to love others, and to love our enemies. Violent rhetoric and physical violence don’t align with that in the slightest. That said, and as mad as they made me, I pray for these people who claimed to be there in the name of Jesus. I pray they would experience the real, life transforming, peace bringing love of Jesus Christ.
I pray that for everyone. I pray you would experience that love and hope that only comes from Jesus. And I would urge you again to seek it out for yourself by reading the words of Jesus Himself. Because, it’s only in finding this hope do I believe there is hope for our nation as well.
And I do believe there’s hope for our nation.
You see, none of what I just said negates our need to put work and effort into advocating for changes in our system and government—to see tangible hope in this life. In fact, it does just the opposite. It makes it all the more necessary and possible to work for justice, seek unity, create an economic environment that gives opportunity for success and failure, and preserves our liberties all in the face of what feels like hopelessness.
As today marks the beginning of a new administration in The White House, we also have the opportunity at a new beginning for hope in our nation. Certainly those who voted for them and agree with their policy goals will have an easier time accepting that statement than those who didn’t and don’t. But I’m not talking about hope in Joe Biden or Kamala Harris or a new administration.
Just two days after we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I’m reminded of one of his many famous quotes.
This is the hope we need.
When we anchor our ultimate hope in the Giver of infinite hope we free ourselves to accept finite disappointments and yet continue having hope of seeing our deepest desires made real.
This is made profoundly clear in the history of black Americans. What if people like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, or Abraham Lincoln had simply given up hope of slaves being freed the first time thing seemed hopeless? What if MLK, Rosa Parks, or the rest of the Civil Rights Movement had simply given up hope of equal rights for black Americans the first time they were met with fists and clubs? And what if we stopped continuing to strive for equality in America today, just because some have tried to use it for their own selfish purposes?
It’s the same in any respect.
If we truly hope for things to change, if we really hope to see our country reunited, if we’re honestly hoping for healing and a path forward to solving the big issues of our time we must persevere in the face of difficulty, put in the work and effort, and have hope for a day when our hope becomes reality.
Let me end with a quick story.
One afternoon, as my family and I were leaving The Capitol after a day of meetings, we traversed its halls headed to the exit. As we rounded one corner, almost so suddenly I missed it and with a bit of help from a well meaning Mimi, we ran into then Senator Joe Biden. Being pushed and hurried along by an aide more concerned with getting him to his next vote, now president elect Biden bent down and said… “young man, never forget this is your house.” Just as soon as he had said it, he was gone.
It’s true, The Capitol is our house. This whole country is our house really, and that makes us one big American family. Sure, we may forget it sometimes and fight amongst ourselves, but let’s not let it steal our hope in this nation or each other. And let’s never forget that no matter what happens we can always choose to put our hope in the unshakable, unstealable, name of Jesus Christ and our eternal home with Him.
So, I ask you… Is there hope for our nation? Is there hope for you?
Well, those are my remARCs. I hope they in some way, big or small, might have resonated with you. Whether it made you laugh, cry (I hope not too much), smile, or maybe think about life from a different perspective, I hope you take something away from this article that makes your day even the slightest bit better. I’d love to hear your remARCs as well. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment on the My RemARCs Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages… unless you hated it. In which case, why are you even still reading this? Hope to see you back here soon. Until then, be well and live remARCably.