"But I say to you that hear, love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who abuse you. To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. Give to everyone who begs from you, and of those who take away your goods, do not ask them again. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."
Though we may realize our faith is most strengthened, not in the easy times of life, but in the most trying, it’s often hard to walk that out once we're swirling in the midst of it all. We long for carefree days, yet sometimes, God takes our hand and leads us straight into the darkest of times. Not to harm us, ever. But to bring greater strength, character, trust, beauty, and perseverance to the deepest part of our souls.
Hi Mara, we are very sorry to hear about this tragedy, and our prayers are with your love one. To help you better understand the biblical teaching that nothing in this world happens apart from God’s will, a distinction is helpful. There is a difference between God’s positive or active will, and His permissive or passive will. And example of this is that even though God wills for all men to be saved (His positive will) not all men actually are saved (His permissive will). That is to say, God permits that people will use their free will to reject Him. In the same way, He permits that people will use their free will to hurt others. Even though it is not God’s will that any of us commit a sin, yet He permits it. This is part of God’s permissive will. Why God allows evil things to happen to us is a great mystery, yet we can have confidence in His promise that “All things happen for the good of those who love Him.” And this even includes the evil things. God can bring great good out of every evil! This is the glorious mystery of the Cross of Christ.
Lord God, I wasn’t expecting this, but I believe that You are still in control, and You are close to me even in this moment (Psalm 46:1). Thank You that before any of this even happened, You already knew it all, and You will provide a way through this (Psalm 23:4). Let Your peace, which surpasses all understanding, guard me from dwelling on disastrous possibilities, and plant my feet firmly on what is true (Phil 4:6-8). Help me to trust You even in this hard place, and give me your perfect peace as I fix my mind on You (Isaiah 26:3). No matter what ends up happening, I believe You will use it for good (Jeremiah 29:11), to make much of Jesus and to make me more like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). I trust You. I love You. Amen.
Triune God, you have revealed to us that the works of darkness and injustice have to be conquered by the dying and rising of Jesus. Jesus' offer of peace encourages us to imitate him in breaking the bonds of inhumanity, of injustice, of hatred, of disunity. Strengthen us with your Spirit of peace that we may always hate evil, love good and establish justice. Do not allow us to cry "Peace" when we are comfortable but declare war against those who go hungry and live in precarious situations. Enable us to find your peace in humble and courageous service of the least of these who are members of your family. Amen.
Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity. Be fair in thy judgment and guarded in thy speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
In the midst of illness, God, I pause to give you thanks: for the glory of creation, which reveals in many forms your matchless beauty; for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus our Savior; for your gift of my life and the presence of the Holy Spirit; for loved ones who care for me; and for the companionship of the Church. I thank you, blessed Trinity, holy God, for the gifts which sustain me in my time of need. Amen.
Grieving when there is unresolved conflict in a family is very difficult..especially as you are unable to grieve with them. Lean on the Lord each time the grief overwhelms you and hold onto his Word..The Lord has not avandoned you He understands you pain and sadness..He promises to hold you up during this grieving journey..Know that he is s God of restoring all that is broken, Cling to Him.
Whenever I’m stressed, anxious, or afraid, help me remember to run to you. You're the only one that can calm my fears and end my fretful behavior. Whether in trivial or heavy matters, I know you will not only give me peace; Lord, you will be my peace. And when I draw close to you—in prayer, in reading your Word, in helping another, in taking my mind off myself—you will be there, up close and personal.