As anyone who lives in our area has become painfully aware, there have been a recent series of sexual assaults on women and consistent threats of acts of terror in local school districts. Unsurprisingly, these events are creating a growing sense of insecurity and even fear among an ever-growing number, and many have asked for my thoughts on how to shepherd yourself and others during these times.
Here are a few thoughts:
1. This is earth
The truth is that every day is filled with dangers, toils, and snares, many that have already come and many more that are coming. Any confidence we have that we are going to be continually free from the brokenness that defines our fallen world is misplaced. As the song says, “My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.” Rather than asking how these things happen, we should marvel that the “restrainer” keeps them from happening more. Believers must remind themselves of this everyday. We are not home yet. We are on assignment in enemy territory and sadness is never far away.
2. When others suffer because this is earth we should not think truth alone should quiet them.
God tells us this is earth, that we are at war, and that trouble is coming – but He also “comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4) He tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15). These are not just days to parade our theological assurances, they are also days to provide incarnational tenderness and comfort. The closer we are to those suffering, the closer our actions ought to reflect Jesus’ actions near those in pain. (see John 11…where our Savior shared truth AND tears.)
3.) While Jesus tarries and we live among terrors, let us be diligent to remind others that greater terrors are to come if they do not come to know the One Who is the Savior.
(2 Peter 3:9-15) Bold proclamation of ALL of our need for a Savior (not just the rapists or terrorists) is both appropriate and ultimately the primary means that this world can be a little more kingdom-like until the Kingdom comes. How we as believers live in the midst of these days says much about the fact that Jesus is the King we claim. As a brother in Christ and fellow servant of at least two of the young ladies recently assaulted, I have been spurred on by the testimony widely observed of their faith, faithfulness, courage, and other-worldly peace. Pray with me for these dear women. Everybody wants to be Daniel but nobody wants the lion’s den. I am humbled to live among the saints in this city and pray our love for each other makes us stronger, our Savior more famous, and our city safer.
Praying with you for our land and our faithfulness in it.