Thursday, April 18, 2013

We’re The Same

My prayers last night included Boston and West. I’ve been to West,  it’s geographically closer than Boston. One was the plan of a specific person’s hatred, the other an apparent industrial accident, both with pain, suffering, loss. Our hearts are broken and we wonder “Why?”

Jesus said these things happen, and those impacted have done nothing to bring such pain to themselves.

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:1-5)

The victims of man’s cruelty and the victims of industrial accidents have done nothing more than the rest of us. Perhaps part of our grief is that we fully understand – it could have been us.

So, what should we do?

Care. About those hurt, and help in any way we can. Support community efforts to provide medical care, physical comfort and emotional comforting. Also, care about our relationship to God.

That word "Repent" doesn't mean to carry a load of guilt for all of our life. It means to be sincerely regretful about our own actions. It also means to change, in attitude and in direction. It means to be aware of the harmful effects of wrong and work to reverse them.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:18)

Words are very important – they can be hurtful and they can heal a broken heart. Knowing the meaning of being a contrite spirit, of understanding why we must all repent, provides a path through sorrow that is beyond understanding.

There is also peace beyond understanding:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

The promise isn’t that thing will get better. We aren’t promised that the pain will go away, either. There’s nothing there about healing. Nothing about making things ‘right.’ We’re not even told we’ll have peace – it’s God’s peace. We’re simply promised that our hearts and minds will be kept.

Is that sufficient? It was for Paul, and he was inspired by God to share that peace he felt, telling how it was achieved:

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:9)

The learning part is fairly easy – just listen, read and heed. The receiving part is a bit more difficult. Too often what we’ve heard and seen is rejected, not received, even when we’ve seen it work in another person’s life.  Paul has given us his own life as an example, just as he did to those who saw and heard him.

Then comes the hardest part. Do. Do what has been learned, heard, seen and finally received.  … do: and the God of peace shall be with you and me and all of us hurting from the events of this week.


  1. "Do what has been learned, heard, seen and finally received. … do: and the God of peace shall be with you and me and all of us hurting from the events of this week. " Amen!

  2. Phyllis, I am so glad that you are writing this down. One day your children and their children are going to read this and cry. They will know that their mother and their grandmother and great-grandmother knew the Lord and cared enough to share. Beautiful post.


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