(Psalm 147: 1-5, NLT)
1 Praise the Lord!
How good to sing praises to our God!
How delightful and how fitting!
2 The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem
and bringing the exiles back to Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds.
4 He counts the stars
and calls them all by name.
5 How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
His understanding is beyond comprehension!
I kept trying to write last night before bed, and I knew I wanted to use this passage, but I just couldn’t get any thoughts together, so I decided to get some sleep and revisit it all in the morning. Then this morning I wake up to a newsfeed full of reports of yet another tragic, seemingly random, shooting of innocent people…this time on the streets of Las Vegas. I don’t usually comment on current events, nor do I make it a habit of using the tragedies and horrors that are happening in our world right now as a writing prompt. Normally I just keep my thoughts to myself and I pray. I ask God for protection for my family, for peace in the midst of so much hatred and violence, and for His name to be glorified and magnified despite it all.
In the face of even more death and violence, I want to be of encouragement to you all…because we so quickly go into fear mode. We begin to wonder, “Am I next?” We rush out to get guns and permits to carry them (I’m talking to myself on that one), we worry about End Times, and we begin to see our brothers and sisters – our fellow Americans – as potential threats. Essentially, we allow Satan to have a stronghold on our minds and hearts – we give him exactly what he wants…which is for us to be afraid.
So what I want to say this morning is: remember who God is. When we stare evil in the face, remember that our God – Creator, Redeemer, Healer, Deliverer, Soon and Coming King, Alpha, Omega, Lord of Everything – He is bringing back the exiles! Sometimes it takes heartache and complete brokenness to catapult change and restoration…like a dilapidated, condemned building that has to be torn down completely before it can be rebuilt, or until something new can be constructed in its place.
Don’t ever forget, all of the hurting hearts will be healed, and all of the brokenness will be mended…because our God is making all things new! It has been promised – a promise of victory!
3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21: 3-5, NLT)
There is no denying that every day things are getting worse. We may not know the minute or the hour that He is coming back for us, but we should have enough wisdom to realize that such a time is drawing very near…but we don’t have to worry or fret when things like this happen. No! Though we experience heartache, we can’t allow that to take us to a negative place. Instead, we have to buckle down and prepare to work harder – reaching out, in love, to a world that truly is lost and dying.
33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)
So, as for me, I’m going to continue to say, “Praise the Lord!” All of my days, I’m going to praise Him. I’ll hand Him my sorrows, because I know He can (and will) turn them into great victories that bring joy unspeakable to my heart. I’ll trust Him – no matter what – because I’d rather have hope than fear!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I lift up the victims of all of the violence in our country and in our world today. Specifically, I pray for those hurt and killed today in Las Vegas. I ask that You send armies of Your people – people who are full of Your love – to reach out and encourage these families as they deal with the trauma and grief in the aftermath of this tragedy. I pray that Your healing hand would be upon each of them today and in the weeks to come, and may it all be for Your glory and for Your Kingdom. May we not fear. May we not give up. Rather, I pray that Your children are encouraged, strengthened, and upheld in Your hands. Amen.