"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." - Ephesians 1:3-5
"Bombs went off at the Boston Marathon today." I
heard my friend's voice inform me of the horrific tragedy. My fingers fumbled
to turn the television on. The footage left me in disbelief.
There must have been
children involved was my first thought. While never in Boston, we have
gathered as a family numerous times as spectators for Chicago. Immediately my
mind went to the people watching on the sidelines that make the race complete. How could anyone do this? It's just evil.
I was careful to shelter my children from the news of the
day. It's difficult enough as an adult to take in the capacity of evil people
can possess. How could I expose my children to it? I had to force myself to
quit watching the replay of images. They are etched in my mind. My heart truly aches
for those involved.
The way information is presented has a way of shaping our
outlook on the future. Everything in me wants to protect my children from this
type of news. However, I have learned the importance of educating my girls
firsthand. If I don't give them the initial information, someone else will with
a spin difficult to combat. We know it was our responsibility to be our
children's first informers. This was confirmed by my 5th grade daughter
following the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. "I wasn't as scared
when people talked about it because you and dad had already told me."
As our family sat down to dinner Monday night, we made the
decision to prepare our children for possible unfiltered conversations they may
encounter. "People were hurt today... we do not need to live in fear...
the only way to protect against evil is with God..." It's difficult to
talk to children 10 and under about these things. At the same time, I realize I
am unable to protect them from every evil. It's only knowing God that allows me
to send them out into the world each day. I am not entrusting my children to
the world. I'm entrusting them to God. Even that is difficult for me some days.
I really can understand how people live this life paralyzed
with fear. Without God's Word, I am certain that would be my fate. Maybe that is
why I felt such sadness as I read Amos 8:11-12 this past week. "The days are coming," declares
the Sovereign Lord, "when I will send a famine through the land - not a
famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the
Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching
for the Word of the Lord, but they will not find it." I realize all
Scripture needs to be read in context and this is probably referring to the
spoken words of prophets in that day. However, I cannot fathom what I would do
without the Bible. It is the source of my hope and strength and the reason I
can carry on. It's also the only
way I know to encourage my children.
As I listened to the President speak at the prayer service
for Boston yesterday, I couldn't help but think about the power Scripture plays
in my life. I don't know how well the President knows the Bible verses he used
or if he truly understands the words he shared or not. For me, however, the two
verses he chose are powerful anchors in my life. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that "God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of
power, love, and self-discipline." It's a verse I have used to
empower my children as well. Still, verse 8 cannot be missed. "So do not
be ashamed to testify about our Lord..."
Part of Hebrews 12:1-3 was also quoted (see
that in bold). "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of
witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us
down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race [God has] set before us.We do
this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our
faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its
shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.Think of all the hostility he endured
from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up." While
I am often encouraged in the many races I participate in by this verse, the one
Paul is referring to is the life of following after Jesus. We need to keep our
eyes on eternity and what matters.
One thing is certain: there is power in
God's Word. I cannot imagine life without God's Truth to cling to. It is my
source of hope and strength. During times like these, this is the only anchor I know to have my
family and I securely clinging to. There is more fear in my heart when I think of no longer hearing God's Word than there will ever be due to evil. I am so thankful God has equipped us with the Bible in times of fear.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." - John 14:27
"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I
will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
Do not fear; I will help you." - Isaiah 41:10, 13
What is your source of comfort in times like these?