Early Tuesday morning storms rumbled through our area leaving a devastating path of destruction. It has been reported that over 20 people have lost their lives. Thousands more effected with injury, property damage and in some cases complete loss. In the area surrounding our church we have businesses destroyed, schools completely lost and some that continue to be without electricity. Thankfully we have had no reports of direct loss in our congregation. That does not mean we do not know of others that were not so fortunate. We have seen the photos of other areas hit by storms in times past but when you see damage and loss to those you know personally and love it puts things into an entirely different level of understanding. I have been so pleased with the response of our community as people have showed up to give, work and support the cleanup and recovery efforts. It is still too soon to determine exactly what needs to be done but just knowing the efforts have begun is encouraging and uplifting. As we offer our support and prayers some outside our area have already began to ask about our expressions of faith. How can a good God allow something to happen like this? How can He allow the total loss of a Christian school, churches and so many good people to lose their life? Why do Christians continue to pray and how can they simply say “we are praying for you?”
A few years ago those outside the church begin asking that question. In the wake of the San Bernadino shooting the term “prayer shaming” came into use. The term refers to comments in both social and conventional media that criticize those who say that their thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The term reached national attention when the New York Daily News had as their front page story the title “God Isn’t Fixing This,” and in the story called talk of prayer “meaningless platitudes.” That was in the wake of a shooting, but last week the media used the term to attack Vice-President Mike Pence and the Coronavirus Task Force for opening their meeting with heads bowed in prayer. https://www.christianheadlines.com/columnists/breakpoint/how-dare-the-vice-president-pray.html And now some in the media are pointing to the damage in our area as not a time to be offering thoughts and prayers. What these comments reveal is a real loss of religious understanding and spiritual compassion most of the people in our country hold.
Not just in the South but all over America, saying that you are praying for someone is an act of kindness, even if you do not know the person or if he or she is not a believer. But our worldview is changing. Some believe science rules the day. Christians know that after we have done all we can do we simply must pray. I cannot explain why some were saved and others were not. But I know that God loves every single person who was impacted. I know that even with all the technology and advances in science that we have made most everything in life is outside of human control. You can be a person of faith and science; you do not have to choose one over the other. To offer our thoughts and prayers is a way of saying, “At this time, I don’t know how to help you, but I care very much about you.” God never asks us to abandon logic but He does command us to love others. The Bible tells us that it was illogical for God to love us but even so Christ died to save us from our sins (Romans 5:8).
There will be a time to put our faith into action when we know more about the exact needs in our area but until that time comes Christians know that there is never a time not to pray. It’s never wrong to cry out your questions or disagreements with God when you are asking for answers. Crying out means communicating and that is what God has been attempting to do with us from the beginning of time. We live in a harsh sinful world that is out of control. The Bible tells us that Creation itself cries out for this to end (Isaiah 24:1-13; Romans 8:18-15). The hope that we have is that this is not all there is; there is life after death through Jesus. It is at times like these that we have the opportunity to be reminded that God really does love us and that we are not alone in our suffering. God is at work in the midst of our suffering. Now is the time for Christians to do what we do best, be the real representatives of Jesus no matter who wants to shame us for our methods.
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Serving the Savior
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