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Monday, June 3, 2013

Words of Refuge

Bits of paper, siding, and insulation on my lawn
after a tornado passed close by two weeks ago.
Another week has gone by, punctuated by yet another terrible, stormy night that brought tornadoes to my area and left more people homeless and sifting through the wreckage of their lives. This time, the clouds also brought deadly flooding rains.

I would say that the chaos is taking its toll on everyone, even those not directly affected by the storms. In the aftermath of anything like this, there is widespread anxiety, stress, and depression as the populous struggles to accept what has happened. This is a natural grief process.

People need to feel that they are safe, and that someone is looking out for them. They need reassurance and comfort concerning their present circumstances and the future that currently seems out of reach.  They are not going to find that kind of comfort in rituals, which have been disrupted; possessions, which have been taken or threatened; or most kinds of organized religion, which preach that humankind is nothing and the deity of choice is the only one who matters.  Christianity stands alone in its statements that (1) the lives of people matter to God, (2) are all equal in His presence, (3) God specifically cares about every individual, and (4) He personally intervenes in our circumstances and lives.
  1.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life," (John 3: 16 NIV).
  2. "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus," (Galatians 3: 26-28 NIV).
  3.  “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish." (Matthew 18: 12-14 NIV)
  4. " And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose," (Romans 8: 28 NIV).
I realize there are many hurting people who need that comforting reassurance right now. They may have heard that the God of Christianity is none of those things, and they may have encountered supposed "representatives" of Christianity who wronged them at one time.  They may be afraid to reach out to God, fearful of the stigma from family and friends, or just cautious.

If you feel that way, I encourage you to seek out the truth about Christianity in the Bible, which is what God has said about Himself and His intentions.  I personally have nothing to gain from saying this, but I know how much you can gain from a personal relationship with Christ.  I urge you to find that calm reassurance that has helped me through the last few weeks. I know that Christ can help you, too, no matter what you are facing right now. He is a friend who cannot be moved or taken away from you:
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Romans 8: 38, 39 NIV).