How to Face the Headlines with Hope

The Papua New Guinea mudslide is yet another reminder that our world is not as it should be. But take heart! Christ has overcome the world.

Family members sit atop boulders, weary from lifting rocks to search for bodies. Men with shovels bend under the weight of sorrow and effort as they work to leave literally no stone unturned. Disaster has struck again: A massive mudslide in Papua New Guinea on Friday morning buried an estimated 2,000 people alive, covering dozens of homes and an elementary school.

By now, it seems safe to assume that anyone not yet rescued from under as much as 26 feet of debris has died. I flip from story to story, looking for more information, but eventually I have to stop. I’m starting to feel claustrophobic myself, imagining a roar of mud and rock waking me from my early morning slumber.

I had an all too similar experience with the video of the bridge collapse in Baltimore earlier this year. As I watched, I remember realizing I was holding my breath. The night lights of Baltimore glittered in the background. It was almost cinematic—I might have mistaken the scene for the beginning of a 1980s rom-com, the city shot right before the credits roll—were it not for the dark silhouette of the ship hitting the bridge, reminding me of the truth: There were trucks and workers on that bridge as it fell. I couldn’t see their faces, but I was watching people die.

And it’s not just Baltimore and Papua New Guinea. Over the past year, as producer of CT’s news podcast, The Bulletin, I’ve been exposed to many tragedies from afar. I’ve read photographic essays about Ukrainians who retrieve dead Russian bodies from the battlefield, scrolling through to get the gist and trying not to linger on the graphic images. I’ve read accounts of school shootings and racially motivated crimes …

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