I grew up watching “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” and Mr. Rogers is my childhood hero. Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister who used the medium of television to pour into the lives of children with songs, puppets and a way of speaking to us all that helped us know we were important and loved. His show was an integral part of our lives from 1968 until August 2001. Shortly after the last show was broadcast, the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 rocked the world. And true to his dedication to the children of the world, Fred Rogers aired a message to children (and to us all really) in the days following Sept 11th. In this PSA, Mr. Rogers told us how his mother would encourage him when bad things happened to “look for the helpers, you’ll always find people helping.”
Mr. Rogers’ wisdom is still true today. In light of recent tragedies throughout the world – earthquakes, wars, shootings, violence and the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic – we can get discouraged and over- whelmed. Why is God allowing these things to happen? Where is God in all of this? We all wrestle with the presence of evil and the consequences of wrong in our world. The Bible assures us that God is in control and He promises “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called accord- ing to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). How He accomplishes this and His reasons for it all are often a mystery. But our faith in Him should propel us to trust that His goodness and His greatness are never diminished, even in the face of uncertainty, sorrow, loss and evil. We are encouraged to walk by faith and to trust Him wholly – even when we have doubts.
What if instead of being stymied by the weight of all of the terrible things we see around us, we look for ways to be God’s instruments of grace in the midst of them? What if we refuse to allow the evil of the world to over- whelm us, but instead take Paul’s admonition to “overcome evil with good” as much as we can (Rom. 12:21)? In the face of all of the loss, suffering, pain, fear and tragedy, we resolve to be the ones to bring hope – “the helpers” Fred Rogers’ mother mentioned. We stand up and allow ourselves to be God’s channel of blessing, support, comfort and love to those who need it the most. And in doing so, we fulfill the command to offer a cup of cool water in the Name of Christ (Matt. 10:42). Instead of wringing our hands, letting the world get us down, paralyzed by the intensity of the darkness we face, we deliberately choose to go out this week and find a way to bring light, even in some small way, becoming one of helpers, the healers, the encouragers the world so desperately needs.