I remember the way grief hung so heavy the morning after news broke of the deadliest mass shooting in US history in 2016.

This shooting happened just days from the one-year anniversary of yet another shooting: a racially motivated killing at an African-American church in my nation’s south. Have we learned nothing? Will we continue to kill one another? Must communities live in fear?

In such moments, I often feel helpless and need to return again to Scripture’s ancient wisdom to learn from the people who have gone before us. Israel knew much about devastation, violence, and oppression. But they also had a relentless hope in the God who would save them. As believers, we can join Israel’s tear-drenched prayer: “Save us, O Lord our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you” (Psalm 106:47).

The prophet Jeremiah assured God’s people that “the time [was] coming” when a righteous king would come to rule—a powerful and good king whose kingdom would extend to every nation (Jeremiah 23:5). This king would “do what is just and right.” When He came, “Judah [would] be saved and Israel [would] live in safety” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Jesus has come, and God’s kingdom entered with Him. But this kingdom has not yet arrived in all its fullness, and we still encounter the bitter pain of violence and evil. Until God’s kingdom comes in final victory, we work and we utter prayers like this: We pray for God’s kingdom of peace over violence, God’s kingdom of love over hate, God’s kingdom of hope over despair, and God’s kingdom of friendship over estrangement and isolation. May the kingdom of Jesus Christ rule over every rival kingdom. O God, make Your kingdom come in us. Amen.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Kings 2:13-25