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Monday, April 22, 2013

Healing for the Harried

Only a few hours after I wrote last Monday's blog post, word reached my ears that someone had blown up two bombs that hurt and killed a lot of people in Boston. After praying for those people for awhile, I remembered the blog post I had written, and I thought about changing the message somehow.

In the end, I decided to leave it as it is.  I still believe that each day is a gift from God, and it is not insensitive to remind readers of that.

The past week was full of episodes reminding me that bad people have made it their business to wreck that gift, turning what started out good into some kind of a nightmare. It seems to me that over the last week, a lot of people have been robbed of truth, humility, hope, peace, and love.  Sometimes this is because they robbed themselves by denying the way God intended them to live; sometimes this is because other people denied God and robbed them.  Either way, this week has been a parade of tragedies.

Worse than that, this week has been a parade of people trying to comfort themselves after tragedy, but mostly going about it the wrong way.  As many may have discovered by now, it is impossible to chase away the pain and hollowness tragedy brings with controlled substances or curse words or politically correct talk  or inspiring quotes about the resiliency of the human spirit (you have probably read the news headlines on these topics by now).  Catching the bombers wasn't quite enough to heal all the wounds those men have inflicted.  There are still many, many people who are forever changed by the tragedies that have filled this week. People are hurting; they feel hunted by trouble, and they need answers.

 What People Need Right Now

I find the answers that commentators on television have been offering have been empty, and I'm weary of their talk, as I know most people are, including the people talking.  At the heart of the matter, no one can offer any real words of comfort other than Jesus Christ.  What people need is the Restorer of all their fortunes--the Maker of the real truth, the real humility, the real hope, the real peace, and the real love that they are seeking.


To start with, there is no other truth that can truly set people free except the truth that Jesus has made a way out of this vicious cycle of rebellion, wrongdoing, pain, and punishment. All other religions have left the monumental task of saving themselves to individuals who are too small to do it.


Naturally following that first point, there is no other humility except that which accepts the power of God and the line between right and wrong that He has drawn. All the other gods and religions make people the inventors of right and wrong, raising them up like gods over others, and they call that humility.  But you know what? People know humility when they see it.


The victims of these demi-gods fear that all hope and a future is cut off from them, but there is still one hope in Christ that is founded on His justice and mercy, and is therefore beyond the reach of the victimizer--because He is above them, too. Christ's justice and mercy is something both the godly and the ungodly know--the godly because they are blessed by it and the ungodly because they are chastised by it.  Jesus has given everyone a chance to get justice, and He has offered everyone a way to escape the sentence that rebellion has brought. Hope is redemption and eternal life through Christ's death on the cross!  All other gods and religions would have us earn hope, but Christ gives it away freely to anyone who would have Him!
One of God's tender creatures, resting in my back yard.


A step beyond hope is peace and safety--a thing that the cruel are always denying others. Christ gives those who have trusted in Him that peace in the midst of troubles, and has promised a lasting peace (a rest, He calls it) in Heaven with Him at the end of everything.  A lot of other religions claim peace, but only at great cost--peace brought about by hurting and oppressing others or sacrificing ourselves. What a small and insecure peace that is, by comparison!


That brings me to my final point.  Love needs to be secure to be meaningful, and its very nature testifies that it is not meant to be something that is earned. Christ alone gives us that kind of eternal love that isn't fickle, even when the objects of that love are continually fickle.  The religions of the world preach plenty of love, but they don't love murderers and other evildoers, or anyone who disagrees with them or resists them.  They say that loving such people is weakness.  Christ preaches that it is strength; in fact, love is the first step toward healing and strengthening what was broken.

 In Conclusion

What people do not need is a political savior, or inspiring talk of the human spirit, or the empty promises of so many false and weak religions. They need stability, and they need to feel secure.  They need what Christ and His message has offered: They need an end of pain and despair, and the beginning of promises that last and bring comfort. They need healing right away.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NIV
I know there are cynics out there.  They will scoff at Christ and everything I've written and say that it's simply not that easy, or the way to these things can be achieved through many paths.  I guess I wasn't writing to convince those cynics.  I'd rather reach out to those readers who are desperately tired of all the alternatives; tired of feeling spiritually dried up and empty because of everything they are seeing. I'm writing for those who are ready to seek Christ and be healed.

For those who have reached this point, here is a simple (and perhaps not too eloquent) prayer to start readers on the journey of knowing Christ: "Dear God, I want to know You, and be comforted by You, because I can't take any more of this bad news on my own. I want to know Your ways, and I want to live the way You would have me live. From now on, I want Your truth, I want Your humility, I want Your hope, I want Your peace, and I want Your love in my life. I know that You have heard me, and because I have asked in the name of Your Son, Jesus, I know that You will grant my request. Amen."

For those who already know Christ, but who have been blindsided by tragedy this week, I hope reading this post has brought you back to the roots of your faith.  Remember the promises that you have in Christ--that He is the Lord of truth (John 14:6), the Demonstrator of true humility (Philippians 2:8), the Foundation of our hope (Romans 5: 1,2) the Securer of our peace (Ephesians 2: 13-16) and the first and perfect Example of love (John 15:13).  If you're struggling, this post should remind you to go back to Him and ask for the comfort you need. He is there, and He has offered no hollow words--Jesus has shown that He cares by all of the things He has already done. He will rescue you again if you Seek Him!