Monday, June 13, 2016
In Times of Pain and Broken Hearts.....
I am writing this Cultural Commentary on Sunday morning as reports continue to come in from Orlando. At this point, we know that the Pulse nightclub tragedy is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. We know that the shooter has been identified as Omar Mateen and that authorities are investigating his possible ties to Islamic terrorism. I feel compelled to write this essay from my heart.
As I have watched the news reports, I have sensed the grief of our Father for His children. While Pulse is one of the best-known gay nightclubs in Orlando, Baptist ethicist Russell Moore was exactly right when he tweeted, "Christian, your gay or lesbian neighbor is probably really scared right now. Whatever our genuine disagreements, let's love and pray."
Here's how you and I can "love and pray" for Orlando right now:
One: With hearts broken as God's heart is broken. Scripture is clear: "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18; see Psalm 147:3). Our Father wants us to love all our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). If people had to be perfect to deserve our intercession, for whom could we pray? Who could pray for us? We are all broken people who need each other and our Lord.
Two: With honesty as we share the pain of those who grieve. David prayed, "Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also" (Psalm 31:9). We can be this honest with God. In fact, it is biblical to pray words of anger and frustration. If Jesus could cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46), we can ask our questions and express our pain. The Lord already knows our hearts. He wants us to open them to Him and to each other.
Three: With hope as we trust the redemptive power of God. The psalmist proclaimed, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way" (Psalm 46:1–2).
Whatever comes of this tragedy and others that may come in the future, our Father is still our Father. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He loves us as much today as when He died on the cross for us. Our Lord promises, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you" (Isaiah 43:2). No matter how deep the river, His love is deeper still.
As he stood at the grave of Lazarus, "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). I am convinced that he weeps today over Orlando. Let us join Him now.
Labels: Cultural commentary, Dr. Jim Denison, god is our refuge and strength, love and pray, matthew 22:39, near to the brokenhearted, orlando tragedy, psalm 31:9, Psalm 46:1, Pulse night club
It was just "puppy love" that brought my Honey and I together at the ages of 13 and 12. We eventually married at the "mature" ages of 18 and 17. And that's when our faith journey began. Over the years, we encountered many opportunities to stretch our faith, especially when our babies were very sick, when financial situations were out of control, and when our marriage relationship had some rocky periods.But we made it through those times by our strong faith and trust in God. But never was our faith more challenged, than when my 63 years "young" husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney Cancer. Fortunately, the 44 years of marriage and faith-building experiences, caused us to "weather the storm", and still remain in peace and strong in our faith. This "peace that passed understanding" compelled me to blog and share the principles that caused our faith to be unwavering and continues to give me the joys of living large! I'm still here, so I'm not done!. I pray you will grow in your faith as you, not only read the blogs, but apply the principles to your own life -- for the good times, and especially for those times that seem so overwhelming.