Everyone agrees, it’s been a strange week – unsettling, emotional, confusing. I was too busy to unpack what I was feeling, but all week long recurring thoughts kept landing on words from the Bible. Things like – “He sits on the throne forever, God so loved the world, His word endures forever, Be still and know that I am God.” Experiencing my roller-coaster emotions, I kept thinking that this is a time to stay focused on my calling as a Christ-follower. No circumstances change the fact that I am to love God with my whole heart, and love my neighbor as myself.
Today I had time to reflect. I thought about the prevailing emotions that I feel, and also see all around me. I read familiar passages in scripture that address them. Now I feel a bit more settled, more trusting, more curious, and more able to get up each day and attempt to walk in the Spirit. I am sensing that this is the time for my faith to be strong, to be active, and to show love in new, and perhaps more challenging ways. And I hope that, by God’s grace, I will be made more like Christ.
So this is for my friends and family who are struggling as I am. Sorry I am too lazy to put in references, but you can find them if you search NIV.
For my friends and family experiencing FEAR for themselves, their families, their friends. For those who fear impulsive decisions, who fear for the future of our country, who are afraid of more racial unrest, of more hate, more disparity, more pain for the marginalized, and those who have found refuge in our country:
- Do not fear for I am with you, (said too many times to count!)
- God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea….Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
- He who keeps you will not slumber, he how keeps you will not slumber or sleep.
- For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, either height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For my friends and family who are ANGRY, with politics, with polarization, with those who voted differently, with our government and leaders of any party:
- Hate what is evil, cling to what is good
- Bless those who persecute you, bless and don not curse…as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone
- Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
- In your anger, do not sin.
- I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
For my friends and family experiencing HOPE. Hope that this will bring possibilities for more economic growth, help for those living in poverty in our vast rural areas. For those who hope this will be an opportunity for their Christian values to be represented by Supreme Court Justices, who now have hope for sanctity of unborn life. And for my friends and family who are feeling HOPELESS. Who fear for the future of our world because as temperatures rise and they know there will be dire consequences, or who are afraid that voices will not be heard with unbalanced partisan power.
- Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord,
- Do not put your trust in Princes, in human beings who cannot save.
- It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
- The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
- Yet this I call to mind, therefore I have hope; Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail, they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.
- Command those who are rich in this world, not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And lastly for my Christian brothers and sisters (all of them of every viewpoint) who know that we serve the same God, and yet have different ways of working out our faith. For those who would love to experience UNITY in Christ, but wonder if it is even worth moving toward:
- How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head…for there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forever more.
- If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge, I will repay says the Lord. On the contrary overcome evil with good.
- Love is patient, love is kind, It does not envy, it does not boast it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
- May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus. So that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.