Last week a fellow Christian author and his wife and grandchildren were murdered, along with the workman at their home. This godly doctor, father, and friend to many who wrote “Angels in the ER” is now amongst the angels.
Recently Dr. Robert Lesslie penned these words on his blog, “One day when I depart this body and find myself in the presence of the Lord, my time, however it will be measured, will be filled with the praises and the wonder of Jesus.”
Even while the saints are praising in the heavenlies, the darkness of violence continues to descend into our world, our homes.
I find myself avoiding the news; I just want to hide and hope it will all go away. But Jesus called me to be in the world, even when the world is a frightening, dark place. We believers are to shine as lights into this encroaching darkness.
Sometimes I don’t feel very bright.
I know we need to both pray and act. I often turn to David’s psalms of lament: “Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans, for I see violence and conflict in the city… Everything is falling apart; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets… Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice… But you, O God, will send the wicked down to the pit of destruction.” Psalm 55.9, 11, 17, 23 NLT
So many emotions are felt when breaking news reveals yet another act of violence against helpless, ordinary people. Anger. Fear. Incredulity. Shock. Sadness. Compassion. Horror. Anxiety.
How do we as Christ followers respond?
First, we LAMENT. We weep and collapse in sorrow. We acknowledge all the feelings, knowing that burying them only makes it worse.
Then we move beyond, as the psalmist did, and LOOK to God by crying out to Him in prayer and entreaty. Yet again we can be assured that “the Lord hears my voice.” He will bring to my soul a peace that the world cannot give.
But how do we then keep going? We choose to LIVE. When twenty-two people were murdered at Walmart while shopping for back-to-school supplies, I did a small personal act of refusing to live in fear. That day I deliberately shopped at Walmart and made a point of greeting everyone I saw. Of course, there are far more pro-active ways to live and honor their memory. Each of us must decide how to encourage change both individually in people’s hearts, but also corporately through innovative policies.
When such horrific tragedy occurs, we LAMENT, we LOOK to God, we LIVE intentionally, and then we do perhaps the hardest thing of all — we LEAVE our concerns in the hands of the powerful God Almighty. Do we trust Him enough to be the ultimate judge and jury for the wicked?
King David knew this to be the final answer, as he entrusted the Lord to “send the wicked down to the pit of destruction.”
I cannot even imagine how I would feel if it were my loved ones targeted by bullets at a concert, school, theatre, shopping mall, worshipping in a church, or in their home. But I do believe that, at the end of the day, I must leave all my fears, my anger, and my need for justice in the hands of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
Instead of falling to pieces when the world is torn apart, I can choose to live as a peacemaker.
Dr. and Mrs. Lesslie’s four children demonstrated the peace of God in their online statement of this horrific loss:
“While we know there are no answers that will satisfy the question of ‘why’ we are sure of one thing: we do not grieve as those without hope. Our hope is found in the promise of Jesus Christ, and we are enveloped by peace that surpasses all understanding. To that end our hearts are bent toward forgiveness and peace. Toward love and connectedness. Toward celebration and unity.”
May God our Refuge shine brightest in our darkness and bring hope and healing to our hurting world. And may He use me, His servant, to lead the way.
May God make known to you His presence, power, and peace, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
©2021 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com