I had intended to continue on the topic of Covenant Theology this week, and it’s still possible, I suppose, that I’ll post something on that subject tomorrow. But God, in his providence, has placed me in a situation where I need to talk about something else. Yesterday there was a tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, one of those reminders we sometimes get that makes it impossible for us not to see that we live in a fallen world. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, and we pray (yes we pray) that God would comfort them and give them peace. We mourn with them for the children they’ll never see again. As I was sifting through the news of the event, somewhat emotionally numb from the shock that such a tragedy will bring, I saw a world leader say this, “Children deserve more than thoughts and prayers. They deserve protection and safety. They deserve life.”
That got me thinking. Are we simply repeating platitudes? Do we as Christians say all the right things when tragedy strikes, but we’re useless in providing the help that is actually needed? Worse yet, do we sometimes fall into the category of Job’s “miserable comforters”? Here’s a few thoughts I have on the matter.
- It’s never just prayer. They may be just thoughts, but prayer it’s never just prayer when you’re praying to the one and only true and living God. When we pray, we’re asking the maker of the universe, the one who holds all things together by the word of his power, the supreme sovereign over all things, to intervene and act. In fact, we believe that our God is powerful enough to bring about the good we pray for even when we don’t know what that is! Romans 8:26-27 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” So pray! Pray that God would comfort those who mourn. Pray that they would know the love of Christ, who will never leave them or forsake them. Pray that Christians in Texas would be equipped to show them the love of Christ. Pray even when you don’t know exactly what to pray for. Just pray!
- Scripture teaches us to weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Do those families in Texas “deserve more”? Absolutely! Yet we are still being obedient to God’s word when we weep with them, when we mourn with them.
- God’s Word teaches us that death is the enemy of mankind, but one day death will die. 1 Corinthians 15:26 says, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Death is an enemy. It was the first enemy. It is the greatest enemy. It is an enemy that is undefeated, and sometimes its presence causes us to wail and mourn and wonder why these things happen. But our God tells us that one day death will be no more. We have a hope beyond death because our Savior has conquered death.
- If you have an opportunity to help in a tangible way, do it. Saying that prayer is never just prayer…pointing out that we have hope beyond the grave…none of that is meant to ignore the reality that there are people whose lives have just been turned upside down. If we have a chance to help those who are suffering, we should. James said that true religion that is undefiled in the sight of God is to care for widows and orphans in their distress. Perhaps you or I may not have the opportunity to provide material assistance in this case, but there may very well be others. And if there are we should be ready to offer support through both our prayers and material assistance.
Well, those are just some brief thoughts I had about the events of the week. As I said before, I’m heartbroken for the families in Texas whose children will never come home. May the God of peace give them his peace.
 In the interest of not getting involved in politics, I’m not going to name the world leader who said this. I’m not trying to attack anyone, and I certainly respect this man both as a civil servant in his own country, as well as a fellow image-bearer of God.