For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest… A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance… A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:1,2,4,7
It’s been my season to be quiet on this blog for the last few months, the reasons are unimportant. Winter came over my words, frosting them over, putting them to sleep. Occasionally they would struggle to free themselves. My fingers ached to pound out my thoughts in time with my heartbeat but the silence stretched on and I turned their work elsewhere.
Even now as I write the joints feel rusty. The words bubble up in spurts like an unused spigot pumping water from some unseen depths. But it’s time for the words to flow again.
Every winter has it’s purpose, every rest it’s duration. We can trust as surely as seasons begin they will just as surely end.
Lately, as I’ve watched the goings on in the world, it’s seems the whole earth has caught fire and gone mad. Grief and chaos in every direction. And I’ve wondered, “what is to be my response.”
Ebola in Africa, massacre in Iraq, the suffering in Israel and Gaza, it makes the head spin. The world has gone crazy, but we must keep our heads.
I watched this yesterday, as I know many of you did, and was so grieved. Frantic even. What could I do? What could the church here do to help. Of course the reality is there are so many displaced people and the attack is happening so swiftly we could never personally be mobilized in time. It’s up to the international community to aid them.
But the question still lingered, how do I respond, how do we respond to these things? There is no bringing back the Christian children beheaded in Iraq, or the thousands of others dead in the region over the last weeks. So what do we do?
“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” Hebrews 13:3
There is a season for everything, war, death, grieving, as well as joy, birth, and building. The temptation is to turn away, hide our eyes and not know. But in a small way I believe our grief is a gift to God and to the memory of those who have suffered.
Mourning is a valley to be traveled through, not a land to live in. But it must be traveled. God’s heart grieves the suffering of this world, ours should too.
We can also be fervent in our prayers, vocal to our leaders, ready to send aid and open our homes.
“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” Hebrews 13:15-16
Let’s be faithful to pray that God will enable those dear brothers and sisters in Iraq to say, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Hebrews 13:6. Through prayer and grief we can take part in their suffering and their sustaining.
How do you respond to the news of war and suffering around the world? Has God lead your heart to respond a certain way?