The present anger and violence in our country is shocking and worrisome. At first I wrung my hands and cried, feeling helpless and hopeless, until a quiet voice whispered it was time to pray. I asked God to give answers and peace to those suffering from frustration, hostility, and unrest. They will never know I prayed for them, but that doesn't matter. God knows, and through intercessory prayer, he can change even the hardest hearts.
This morning my devotions, His Word, further told me how to relinquish my anxiety.
The first reading was from the book of Isaiah 8: 23, 9:5-6: “And they shall look upon the earth, and behold trouble and darkness, weakness, and distress, and a mist following them and they cannot fly away from their distress… For every violent taking of spoils, with tumult, and garment mingled with blood, shall be burnt, and be fuel for the fire. For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.”
There has always been hate and unrest. My misery will not end any of it but my prayers and small acts of kindness and compassion can mitigate some of it.
The second reading was from Psalms, one of my favorites. This prayer has guided me through many hard times. Psalm 27: 1,4, 13-14: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid… One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord and may visit his temple… I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living. Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage, and wait for the Lord.”
That verse alone put the current turbulence in perspective. As long as I trust God, the world cannot destroy my peace. Doesn’t mean I won’t have a rightful concern, I should. However, I need not work myself up into hand wringing. Nothing I can do will alter people’s beliefs and ideologies. I must give it to God in prayer. He’s far better equipped to handle these crises than I am.
Interesting, as I paged from the Psalms to the New Testament, my bible fell open to the Book of Daniel, Chapter 13. This book from the Apocrypha describes Daniel saving Susannah from false accusations by revealing her accusers’ lies. One day God will do the same, exposing all lies and deceptions.
In my third reading, 1 Corinthians 1:10, St. Paul beseeches the Christian community not to become fractured sects, not to let contentions divide them. Again, I found the same theme of keeping our focus on God, not on our small grievances and differences.
The Gospel was from Matthew 4. Verse 16 spoke of hope. “The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light: and to them that sat in the region of the shadow of death, light is sprung up.”