Safe in the Storm

“My soul quietly waits for the True God alone
    because I hope only in Him.
He alone is my rock and deliverance,
    my citadel high on a hill;
    I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my significance depend ultimately on God;
    the core of my strength, my shelter, is in the True God.

Have faith in Him in all circumstances, dear people.
    Open up your heart to Him;
    the True God shelters us in His arms” (Psalm 62:5-8, The Voice).

Right now, I’m typing these words as I’m lying in bed (or laying in bed– I’m still fuzzy on which of these is correct). Anyway, I can hear the thunder rumbling outside, signifying that more rain is coming.

One of my least favorite things to do is to be out on the interstate when it’s storming. One of my favorite things to do is to be safe at home, able to hear and see the storm while being safely under a solid four walls and a roof.

It seems lately that storms are raging all around us. Not so much literal storms with lightening and thunder, but so many senseless acts of violence and destruction. Not even the church building is a safe sanctuary anymore.

I read something amazing today. It was from the pastor of the church in Texas where the latest mass shooting occurred. He lost half his congregation, as well as his own 14-year old daughter. He said, “Christ is the one who is going to be lifted up. What you don’t understand you lean into the Lord. Whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding.  .  .  . I don’t understand but I know my God does.”

I can’t imagine. I can’t say that I’d be half as brave or stedfast in the face of unspeakable tragedy and grief. I only know that God is near to the broken hearted and to those who are crushed in spirit, and in those times, He gives a peace and a love and a trust that truly passes understanding.

Storm come, storms pass, but the love of God is a shelter and a safe place forever.

 

Praying for Sutherland Springs

“Death opens a door out of a little, dark room (that’s all the life we have known before it) into a great, real place where the true sun shines and we shall meet” (C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces).

I’m having a really difficult time processing yet another mass shooting at a church. This time, it was First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. The town has a population of about 400 and the church typically runs around 50 on any given Sunday.

That makes it especially heinous that a gunman walked in and opened fire on the congregation, killing 26 and wounding 20. I have no words.

Just when it seems that we’ve seen the worst kind of evil, something like this comes along and reminds all of us that this world is a broken place suffering under the crushing weight of original sin. Nothing’s the way it was supposed to be in the beginning.

I do know that the answer still lies at the foot of the cross. I know that Calvary still remains the best example of the worst kind of evil ever inflicted. God in Jesus took that evil upon Himself and in the process, defeated sin, death, and hell forever.

I know that tonight, God weeps with those who are weeping. I know that God in Jesus is no stranger to grief and sorrow, as Isaiah 53 calls Him a Man of Sorrows and Hebrews says that Jesus has experienced everything common to humanity, yet was without sin.

Because of that cross, my hope is that the Kingdom of God is breaking into this world, and that one day God will put everything right and turn this crazy upside-down world right-side up again.

In the mean time, we live with the unspeakable. In the midst of ultimate evil, there is still Immanuel, God with us. That remains our hope.