It seems as if these are the frequent headliners lately. I don’t know about you, but hearing of such tragedies is pretty disheartening and causes us to respond in different ways.
Some folks remain in a state of fear and pity: “Oh how terrible!”
Some quickly move on with their own lives because they don’t feel affected: “That didn’t happen to anyone I know.”
And then, there are some people who pray about what they can do and then, do it! When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston just a short while ago, it was amazing to watch the quick, generous response of countless people sending supplies and even, going there themselves to pray, encourage, help clean up and rebuild homes. In the aftermath of the shootings in Las Vegas, a group of people thought of the first responders and blessed them with meals and notes of encouragement. When the country has felt divided over issues of race and politics, it has been uplifting to see folks of all backgrounds come together and worship as one.
In the book of Nehemiah, we read how he was distressed. The wall surrounding Jerusalem had been broken down when the city was destroyed nearly 100 years prior. Now that his people returned from exile, how would they feel safe without this protection? Nehemiah could have had a pity party and complained, “Oh, the enemies will kill the Jews!” He could have been indifferent and said, “I have a great job with the King so I’m good.” But instead, we see him pray and ask for permission to leave his position and go rebuild the walls.
Nehemiah saw a problem … a big problem. But he utilized BOTH prayer and action which led to the problem being solved, demonstrated his humble and effective leadership, and God’s love and faithfulness were evident. He accomplished this because he trusted in God’s promises and then, he moved forward in faith. As a result, the walls were rebuilt.
Pray about what is distressing you, but don’t stop there. Do something tangible towards resolving the issue. Be the hands and feet of God.
“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. ” (Romans 12:13) “My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.” (1 John 3:18 MSG)