When Jesus saw them weeping and saw the other people wailing with them, He was moved with indignation.
Then Jesus wept.
And again He was deeply troubled.
Hatred has instituted full blown chaos in the hearts of multitudes. Fear has become the spear piercing the side of Christ with every act of violence, terrorism, wrath.
Yet again, certain individuals choose not to play nice giving us reason to #PrayForNice on many levels.
Watching the horrific events in France last evening shoved my spirit into a vault of sadness.
Then I wept.
And again I was deeply troubled.
As Christians, no, as humanity, we are gifted with the free will to embrace mercy – the gift which pours out of the wound in Christ’s side.
His willingness to take on sin.
Our opportunity to receive eternal life.
Of all the soundbites chirping across the global cloud, one voice keeps ringing in my ear. Though spoken in response to the recent tragedies in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas, the message is universal to our world in general.
“The common denominator is not the weapon – but anarchy in the heart of the person who’s committing the crime,” Mike Huckabee.
We aren’t fighting guns and weapons of mass destruction. We are fighting an insidious villain taking root in the inner spirit of the very people God created.
Much like Lazarus’ death – bitter and vexing for his family – the exile of conscience in today’s world leaves the rest of us reeling in confusion and fear.
“Lord, if you had been there, innocent lives would not have been lost.” John 11:32
This pain-induced casting of blame on the One we desire to Trust is tempting. Our humanness is unable to fathom why such evils exist in a world loved and cared for by its Creator.
“In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33 (MSG)
Yet, everywhere we look evil still prevails. The hearts of those who choose to invoke terror and engage in cold blood murder are dead; dead to the value of life, entombed in fear.
How can we believe God has overcome?
“Roll the stone of doubt aside.” John 11:39
How can we trust what lay in the tomb can be brought back to life again? By now the stench of terrorism and hatred poisons the air because evil hearts have been dead for so long.
“Unwrap your trust and let it go.” John 11:44
Jesus knew God had already healed Lazarus even though his body lay hidden from view.
Jesus knew God was in control of the situation. Still, Jesus wept. As do we.
We also want to believe God is in control. But when all we see is free will abusing its power, doubt erodes our consistency in remaining steadfast.
Choosing to unwrap our trust, letting it go, means crossing the river of spiritual defeat in search of blessings which are yet unknown. God encourages us to get our feet wet, one foot in front of the other, by praying for the hearts of sinners.
But praying for peace and love to overcome the anarchy in the hearts of lost souls who continue to act out in righteous indignation feels illogical. What’s the point? Why try?
Though they pierce our Savior with a spear of indifference, we receive the blood. A precious gift we can use to try and harbor their disease through petition.
God will bring the justice, that we are assured.
“You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You,
for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You.
So trust in the Eternal One forever,
for He is like a great Rock—strong, stable, trustworthy, and lasting.
He humbles the high and mighty.
Even the indomitable city falls before His strength, reducing it to dust.” Isaiah 26:3-5
Pope Francis declared 2016 the Year of Mercy. Incomprehensible atrocities have littered the worldwide stage.
But mercy must prevail for humanity to survive.
Mercy through prayer is the seed planted in evil hearts. God, and only God, can tender the soil and bring fruit in willing participants.
We pray. We trust. We love. We don’t give up on goodness. We play nice. We set an example for others by showing love. Love begets love. Mercy begets mercy.
In Justice we Trust even though, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that we know now is partial and incomplete, but then we will know everything completely, just as God now knows us completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
Together we weep.
And again we are troubled.
But God gives us a lifeline to hold on to and tie to the waist of our fellow man:
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the Kingdom, and the power, and the Glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:13
One by one. Step by step. Heart by heart.
#PrayForNice #PrayForLife #PrayForChangedHearts #PrayForLove