Contemporary English Version (CEV)
I have a lot of questions for God. I wonder about cancer and starvation and war and betrayal and dishonestly and greed and the compulsion to tell white lies and all sorts of evil that lurks in the heart, from jealousy to hatred to lust. Brokenness surrounds us, and if we spend enough time fixated on it, it can be pretty easy to wonder about God and whether his promises are true or not.
That's the importance of community. When we gather together, we remember that pain and betrayal and brokenness is not the end of the story. The cross does not get the last word -- Easter is coming, and life wins over death. We know the end of the story, but we need to remind each other of that end, to lift one another's eyes to the hills so that we will catch a glimpse of the promised dawn. There is a tremendous promise waiting for us, and if we focus on the pain around us, we might lose hope and give up our faithful march on the narrow road that leads to life, choosing instead an easier path that might promise less pain in the beginning, but ultimately leads away from life.
So let us remind one another not to give up. It not only encourages us to strengthen our faith, but it also calls us to go out into the world and engage with the hurt and the pain, so that we might strengthen one another in Christian love and point towards our ultimate hope, Jesus Christ.