Archive for May, 2013

tragedy

One can never fully prepare themselves for pain and anguish. There are times when we attempt to mentally brace ourselves for a tragedy that we see in the near distance, but there are no adequate words to describe the exact pain that one encounters once a crisis has actually occurred. It is natural to become numb to all of the other pleasantries of life and succumb to the hurt that has developed within once a tragedy has been experienced.

Some of the most pressing questions that we vocalize during a tragedy is “Where was God” and “Why would God allow this to happen?” It is difficult to comprehend an infinite God, full of compassion and love, allowing innocent school children to be victims of a tornado, or marathon participants to meet an early grave due to evil, terroristic acts. It is perplexing to our level of intellect that a destructive soul would be allowed to carry out such heinous acts that are contrary to God’s love for humanity.

In the wake of tragedies, we often feel alone and hopeless. The truth of the matter is that God still speaks to us. It’s not as easy to tune into the voice of God during a time of hurting, because we tend to lean on emotions and feelings, but there is a still, small voice that is being vocalized.

After the bombings that occurred at the Boston Marathon on April 15, there was a vast outpouring of love and support from many Americans nationwide. Through monetary funds and other resources, people expressed their concern and compassion for those who suffered tremendous loss. Their acts of love and kindness are the language of God. Even in the aftermath of a tragedy, God’s voice is amplified.

Tragedies, while often viewed as anguish and grief, can produce beauty. My grandmother died the day before my 7th birthday. As you can imagine, I went from expecting a birthday party with rambunctious-like neighborhood children to being confined to a state of mourning. It was fifty-four days after her death that I found myself at my church preparing myself to be baptized and filled with God’s Holy Spirit. I asked God about the timing and why it happened following a tragic event. He told me I was close to the creation, but not the Creator. The removal of a precious loved one was not intended to make me weak, but to experience God in a deeper and more intimate way.

I am convinced that God feels our pain and sorrow when we experience loss. Because God’s love for humanity caused him to sacrifice his own life, He is familiar with our sufferings.  It is important that even in a loss, we can grow to know God. With the comfort he provides in the midst of pain and the peace that surpasses our understanding, it permits us to trust Him.

The human vocabulary is simply not suffice to comfort those who have recently experienced a tragedy, but God’s language is. Through His grace, you will hear Him whispering sweet words of comfort. Through His mercy, you will feel Him uplifting you.

Everyone deals with tragedies in various ways. For some, the sting of death lasts for what seems like an eternity, but through it all, God speaks through acts of love. His biggest question, in the midst of a raging sea, is “Do you trust me?”

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It is that time of year again for the National Day of Prayer. It’s a time where orange juice and biscuits will be the highlight of prayer breakfasts. Pastors and ministers will speak words of faith. The President will invoke words of encouragement and hope. Many individuals will gather at various prayer events in their cities and pray for their families, country and fellow man.

These events are certainly a synopsis of our religious culture. It serves as a reminder of how important these traditions are in Christendom and the need to commemorate them.

But there is something deeper missing in all these festivities. There is a bigger longing than a few scriptures quoted, a couple of choruses and melodies harmonized together, and an inspirational theme. There is a genuine lack of a prayerful lifestyle in America.

Prayer cannot simply be condensed into a holiday. It is not something that can be dusted off a shelf once a year and expected to perform at its highest magnitude. Prayer must simply be a lifestyle. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonians to “Pray without ceasing.” It is something that should be a consistent factor in our lives. Prayer is communication between man and God, and there should always be an active interaction between the Creator and his creation.

I am not desensitized by the traditional events surrounding the National Day of Prayer. The spiritual unity that is witnessed during this day is beneficial and definitely needed. However, this lone event does not account for a personal relationship with God and an active prayer life. Philippians 4:6 states: ” Do not fret or have anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.” Regardless if there is a national event, prayer breakfast or a host of religious officials around us, we must seek the Lord in prayer in all things.

There is a common and typical tradition of reaching out to God in times of crises and tribulations. This is not effective use of prayer. While God is truly certain to hear us in our times of desperate need, he is also worthy of prayer and praise when times are going well. Our prayer life should not be based on the ups and downs of the economy, our marital status,  or our job outlook.  It should be effective and active regardless of what surrounds us.

Prayer can change and alter any situation. When God sees an adamant desire by one to communicate with him, he feels compelled to intervene on our behalf. It is the power of prayer that makes an alcoholic feel an eradication for his desire of drunkenness. It is the power of prayer that can take a wounded heart of a depressed soul and set it free. The power of prayer faces no limits or boundaries. It is not bound by natural obstacles or setbacks.

In order to know God, we must communicate with him. A man doesn’t learn to love his wife by talking to her on a once-a-year basis. He talks to her constantly and builds a relationship with her on a day-to-day basis.

We will never learn to grow in our faith and relationship with God by simply waiting for a National Day of Prayer event to speak with him. Prayer must certainly be a lifestyle. It should be something we yearn to do. Prayer must be a lifestyle.

 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”– 2 Chronicles 7:14

Make EVERYDAY your National Day of Prayer.