It seems, as of late, that our world as many of us knew it, is no longer. Unprecedented mass killings, terrorism, and nightly shootings broadcast on the early morning news, are more the norm than not. Earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires causing unheard of disaster and loss of life, are motivating more and more to ask, “What is happening?” People stand stunned as if in shock, and while moments of silence are observed, a pervasive sense of helplessness seems to blanket and thicken the air. While being silent is a reverential expression of respect, does this quiet solemn response bring hope?
As a young girl, not so many years back, when the threat of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was on our doorsteps, and in insanity, we were directed to practice bomb drills, by taking refuge in the crawl space underneath our elementary school, President John F. Kennedy “…paused for prayer at St. Matthew’s Cathedral….”¹ Earlier in this country’s history, Abraham Lincoln told his secretary, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”² And President Jimmy Carter, meeting at Camp David with Anwar Sadat, the Muslim, and Menachem Begin, the Jew, prayed for wisdom to break the impasse between the two men.³
As we see in our presidents, and if we are honest, in ourselves also, it is when we get to the end of our own capabilities—when we realize that what is happening to us, is beyond our control—that we truly pray. Up until that point, talking with one another, trying to help each other to see it my way, or from my point of view, is our first line of action, prayer, often ending up, the last. Much of the time we don’t realize that is what we are doing.
My mother, a feisty, but sweet Christian lady, was a great talker who tried to sway with wordy persuasion the hearts and minds of those she cared for. Starting her directives with, “Now, listen to me, listen to me now,” her well meaning deliberations, sadly, were lost many times on unresponsive hearts and deaf ears.
God calls us to worship Him in prayer. He doesn’t need adoration, but He desires for us to pray so that He can give us hope as we look to Him. It is only when we cry out to Him that we allow Him to help and love on us.
Those moments ~
~ when we don’t understand and like Job, ask, “Why?”
~ when we see pain and suffering and look to Him for help and comfort;
~ when we realize the hardness of our hearts and in repentance ask Him to change us from within;
~ when we tell the Lord how very afraid we are and how we need Him to watch over and guide us.
When we search for the Lord with all our heart, He promises we will find Him. (See Jeremiah 29:13.) It is a very precious thing to Him when we worship in that way.
Times of upheaval are ahead. In the Bible, Jesus, in the book of Matthew, speaks about wars and rumors of war as the beginning of end times. But in Timothy 3:1-5, a more detailed description of human behavior in the last days is given. It’s pretty spot-on with what we see in our personal interactions, of what we witness in the headlines almost everyday.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”
It is sobering, to say the least. But perhaps taking a hard look and admitting to the tough reality of what is going on in our world is what we need to do.
So, the next time we are asked to bow our heads in respectful silence to pain, suffering, or loss, let’s lift our hearts and eyes heavenward, and pray.
Let the Lord love you.
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT