By Pastor Kristin Wenck
Tragedies of every kind are multiplying around us. Violent storms, wildfires, killings are becoming commonplace. These are all signs of the end times. The Bible says these things are going to happen. How do we as Christians respond?
These people need the comfort and peace that only God can provide. I have been on the receiving end of this type of prayer when my father moved on to heaven. When your life has been changed dramatically by loss, only the comfort of the Holy Spirit can strengthen and bring hope again. He gives the spiritual fortitude to get up and keep on walking. You can literally feel God’s strength lifting you and walking you through the days and the changes that come. His supernatural presence brings peace in the face of great pain. Many times, this is something that people cannot pray for themselves—it has to come from others coming alongside to help.
When people have lost everything, even the gift of a toothbrush or a blanket is a precious thing. Giving brings hope and the beginning of restoration. Helping to meet pressing needs lets people know that they are not alone. Be the hands of Jesus!
We live in a time when people are looking to place blame on someone or something. It makes them feel like tragedies can be controlled and stopped, but that is an illusion. People are also very willing to take up offense over things done to others. It is possible to be in unforgiveness about something that was not even done to you. As a Christian—resist the urge to do this. The Bible is very clear—we need to forgive if we want to be forgiven by God. If you choose to be unforgiving, you are choosing to have your prayers go unanswered. (Mark 11:24-26) That is a dangerous place to be, and an open door for the devil. As the devil is “the god of this world”, the natural tragedies and even the mass killings are directly attributable to him and his power in people’s lives—to get them to do the unthinkable. Yes, in the natural forgiveness seems like a hard thing. So difficult that some versions of the Bible leave these scriptures out! (There is nothing like telling the children to turn to a scripture and half of them raise their hands to say it is not in their version) But if you are going to walk with God and see Him move in your life, unforgiveness is not an option.
4. Empathize—but don’t personalize! You can help people in tough situations without putting yourself in their shoes, so to speak. Many of the strong emotions surrounding tragic events are because people are inwardly thinking “That could happen to me”, which sparks fear. Fear and faith can’t exist in the same place. You are either trusting God, or you are not. Some people have a covenant with God, and some do not. You are not in that person’s situation. Don’t let fear in by placing yourself there and turning this around to be about you. Someone else has experienced a life changing circumstance and they need your prayers, your support, and your love. Fear stops you from effectively helping, so walk in love and faith and help the restoration to begin in their lives also.