October 22, this year and every year--a teachable moment for those who have lived in hope for something that hasn’t yet happened.
Today is the 170th anniversary of what Adventists and the progeny of the religious movements that grew from the teachings of William Miller euphemistically call “The Great Disappointment." Talk about an understatement. It was closer to “The Great Annihilation of Hope,” or “The Great Theological Mistake Big Enough to End the Whole Discussion” or “The Great Challenge that If It Doesn’t Break You Will Make You Stronger.”
Every religion has different daily struggles. Sometimes, those struggles increase with time and become struggles for the religion as one group of people. Albeit, without these struggles what would the differences between religions be? Christians have their own set of struggles, as do Muslims. And, as a voice for the Muslim community, my jihad—my struggle—is to acknowledge these difficulties.
We were standing in the Sacramento train station waiting for our train to Reno. Not counting Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm, I had never ridden a train. It was a 5-day get-away that offered us a break from stifling humdrum. We were with my cousin and his wife and were busily chatting about the joys that lay ahead. Suddenly, through a crowd of standing passengers all waiting for their train, like peering through a clump of trees, I saw her.
We are surrounded by communities. Our church, our friends, our family, our coworkers. These communities often intersect, and each has the ability to uplift us or destroy us. When we’re going through a difficult time, our communities can serve a vital role in helping us make it through.
So why is it that so often, when people are hurting the most, we shy away from the one community that should have the greatest capacity for seeing us through: the church? What should be our first line of defense against the pain of this world often turns into a battlefield all its own.