(This is part 1 of a series of reflections on current crises and Christian faith)
“In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?” (John R.W. Stott)
Jesus was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53.3)
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4.23)
There is much to grieve in our world.
We’ve been living through a time-line of events that seem to be increasing in violence and trauma. Hurricanes. Shootings. Earthquakes. Riots. It’s difficult to recall everything that’s been streaming across our TV screens in just the past six months, but we shouldn’t forget how…
…in May, there was a bombing at a teen concert in Manchester, England, killing 23, injuring 250. …in June a shooter tried to murder a group of US Congressmen during a Congressional Baseball practice, seriously injuring Congressman Steve Scalise; and how in that same month a terror attack on the London Bridge in England, killed 11, injuring 48. …in July, North Korea began a series of ICBMs test launches, raising the specter of nuclear war with the US. …in August, riots erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia during a nationalist rally, ending in an auto homicide of a peaceful protestor.
Then there are the hurricanes – Harvey floods Houston and south Texas; Irma rakes Florida, bringing floodwaters into Jacksonville; and Maria devastates Puerto Rico.
And now this month, a Las Vegas shooter kills 58, wounds over 500 at an outdoor country music festival. The more that investigators dig into the shooter’s life, the scarier the story becomes. He stockpiled weapons for months; he had a cache of explosives; he had planned to attack Chicago’s “Lollapalooza” music festival, or Boston’s Fenway Park, but those plans mysteriously failed. Such insanity. Such sorrow.
How do we avoid losing heart, when our hearts are breaking? How do we live as followers of Jesus in this land infected with trauma and tension?
As followers of Christ, we need to guard our hearts, to guard our minds, and keep our daily walk with God vibrant.