because of tragedy
what incredible tragedy.
our world is dark, you guys.
But I didn't have to tell you that.
natural disasters, division, shootings, scandal.
It seems like the last year or so has been a kaleidoscope of hatred and terror. I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone, shut down the news push notifications that come onto my lock screen.
Is this the right thing to do? Be ignorant to what is going on?
How do we live among all of this hurt?
How do we not grow weary?
how do we not grow apathetic to it all?
That last one is my default, to be completely honest. I'm tempted to turn my heart to stone on purpose, to not let it affect me in moments when I hear about something really terrible.
How do we feel when there is just so much suffering?
I'm not really talking about things we can physically help with, like going to Houston to help with flood relief (if you can help in physical and tangible ways, that's great). I am more talking about how we handle ourselves in conversation and our reactions to these events -- in face to face conversations, on social media, with ourselves and our dedicated time spent alone with God.
I truly believe how we respond to tragedy with our words makes an impact, whether we notice or not.
I am tempted to ignore it.
Others are tempted to glorify it.
I don't think either of these reactions are good.
I see in scriptures that we are called to do three things:
to acknowledge the suffering and the pain
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
2 corinthians 1:3-4
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
Jesus says that we will have tribulation, suffering, trouble. We are to speak words of affirming comfort. We are called not to overcome evil with evil, but evil with good (Romans 12). This pain cuts deep and ignoring it does not make it go away. Our place is to speak truth and comfort into these situations. The hurting and suffering need our affirmation not our pursuit of more information.
to watch for blaming and grumbling
"If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell."
In tragedy is the best time to be humbled. In the greatest tragedy of Christ's death, Jesus was humble and slow to speak. In tragedy, we should be slow to be on fire. We have no idea the impact that our words can have. We have enough people in our world yelling and blaming. We have enough of it. We could use a reminder that the people around us are not our enemies, that we have a greater enemy that is feeding on this chaos. He loves all of this distraction. We need to maybe not talk so much about how we feel and more about who God is. Christine Caine said last weekend, "Doubt and fear die unborn if they are never spoken." There is a place to confide to others (of course) but, there is also a place where our own personal chaos and questioning simply feeds the fire.
to acknowledge our God on His throne
"He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord."
habakkuk 3:18-19a (I LOVE habakkuk)
"yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places."
In Habakkuk, the prophet is questioning God about the evil in the world. That yet in verse 18 is so powerful. No matter what is happening -- YET we will rejoice.
I don't think this means to throw an after-party. It is rejoicing in Christ's completed victory over wallowing in our present.
We love being the victim -- it's a dark thought -- but I think we secretly leech on to the tragedy for something to talk about sometimes. Let's talk about something else.
He is sovereign. He is good. He is consistent. The God of today is the same God that reigned on 9/11/01 and the day Jesus resurrected.
I am guilty of calling this world my home.
God is still good, God is still loving, God is still just.