How do we keep faith in a world where there is so much violence and tragedy?

I stopped getting the newspaper years ago because my heart couldn’t take it.  I would open it up and weep.  I didn’t know my tears were intercession, but they were.  They were then and they are now.

It’s been a week.  2:50pm a week ago today the first bomb went off, exploding our sense of safety and so much more.  I find myself today so very sad.  How are you doing?  My prayer is that my tears and yours join in the intercession for the many to aid in their healing and to bring the presence of Jesus.

He is our refuge.  He is our strength.  He is our ever ready help in time of trouble.  And we are surrounded by trouble.  But he is greater.  Always.  Earlier in the week I wrote some paragraphs that would be served well by the accompaniment of a trumpet.  Or better, a shofar.  They are what follows.

In this week of national tragedy—a terrible invasion of murder, terrorism, poison letters, explosions, death, mayhem, and manhunts—mercy, courage and valiant heroics still triumphs. Love still wins.  Love always conquers.  We were surrounded, as we always are, by darkness—but by light too.  Our normal every day life includes loss, sorrow, death and the choice to believe that Life still wins. No matter what.??

 n this week of national tragedy, my personal tragedy included the fact that a precious aunt died, so did a best friend’s mother.  Another friend’s mother was put into the care of hospice.  A dear friend slipped and fell on the ice and was hurt, and a lovely niece had her first child.  I took a one-day personal retreat—recovering from the exhaustion of three intense weeks of ministry, my husband traveled out of state to speak of the Kingdom of Heaven, and we had a blizzard.  I grocery shopped.  I paid bills.  I made dinner.  I prayed.  I met with God and he restored lost places in my heart with his love, his take, his perspective.??

 In this week of national tragedy, hope was born, evil corrupted, children were sold into slavery, genocides raged, children were rescued, and the Kingdom of God advanced.  This world.  This fallen, broken, heartbreakingly beautiful world of ours is not our home, but we do have one.  

And on our way there, the less harshly we judge ourselves, the less quick we will be to judge others.  The more we are able to believe and receive the love of God, the more authentically we will be able to love those around us. The degree to which we are able to offer ourselves the mercy God is constantly offering us is the degree to which we will be able to offer it to others.??To love our neighbor as ourselves requires that we love ourselves.

Even in the midst of national and personal tragedy.  Even in the midst of disappointing people. Even in the midst of looking to people to meet needs they were never meant to and being disappointed ourselves.?

Mercy trumps judgment.  Forgiveness wins over offense.  Love vanquishes fear.  Life conquers death.  Always.  Jesus is alive and well and moving. Even this week.  Even this moment.  ??Look to him.  

I lift my eyes up to the hills.  From whence does my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, the maker of Heaven and Earth.  ??Jesus told us things were going to get pretty dark before the dawn.  Things have gotten pretty dark.  Two brothers set bombs to destroy and kill.  A doctor in Philadelphia is on trial for cutting the spinal chords of full-term babies whose mothers didn’t want them to live.  A man lies in the hospital recovering from his legs being torn off by a coward’s attack.  Near him, recovers the coward.   There is evil all around.  But there is good, too.? And good not only wins, it already has won.?

Lift your eyes up, swing wide, you heavenly gates.  Open up your heart to the King of Glory. Receive his mercy, his forgiveness, his love and his Life. Receive the endless safety of his refuge.  Receive his hope and truth and steadfast faithfulness.  Receive his good trustworthy heart that knows we sorrow here.  We bleed here.  He is well acquainted with it all.  Love bleeds.  He bled.  His blood heals. Love heals. Receive him.  Jesus. The one who saves and who is saving still.  Always.

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