Saturday, January 12, 2013

What Do I Know to be True?

A few weeks ago, I wanted to take a quick break from writing and decided to turn on the television while cleaning up the kitchen. Seldom do I sit down to watch TV during the day, but sometimes I’ll turn it on to listen to my favorite uplifting programs. As I went to change the channel from the news station that my husband had been watching before leaving for work, I noticed the “Breaking News” headline.

Oh, no, another shooting—this time involving several young children.

I had to sit down.

Numb with sadness over the evil in this world, I struggled to process this latest senseless tragedy. In an attempt to come full circle, I asked aloud the same question I had asked myself following every tragedy since the death of my teenage stepson in 1994:

What do I know to be true?

Asking myself that simple question in relationship to God and His truth, has always gotten me through. Eighteen years earlier, while attending grief counseling with Joe, the Christian counselor who helped me cope after the sudden death of my stepson, Conan, Joe had challenged me to memorize Philippians 4: 6-7. It was then that I developed the habit of asking myself that question about God: What do I know to be true about You in the midst of this tragedy? When tragedies occur (which, sadly, they always have and they always will this side of heaven), what truth can we cling to about the Lord and His promises?

For starters, we know that God is not the author of evil; rather, He is the author of love. Some might argue that it was evil of God to allow His Son to be mistreated and to die a horrible death on the cross, but the truth is, it was out of God’s great love for mankind that He allowed His Son to carry the full weight of our sin so that we might have eternal life in Him. That’s costly, extravagant, mind-blowing love.

I know, too, that God promises to work evil out for good, for those who are His children—those who are the “called” and who know His voice and long to do His will. Even the painful death of a loved one can bring forth goodness. During times of bitterness grudges can drop by the wayside as people come together and unite in their shared grief. Many hardened hearts have cried out to the Lord in their anguish and found Him to be true to His word.

I also know that God gives us free will; we make our own choices. We cannot control the heart of another, we can only choose, with God’s help, to keep our own heart pure. Almost two decades ago I realized it was up to me to choose to begin each day in prayer and in God’s Word. Reading the Bible helps to protect our mind and guard our thoughts. There is power in God’s word.

Finally, I know to be true that God will never leave me or forsake me. Even during heart-wrenching grief, He is my comforter—my ever present help in time of need. He has proven Himself, over and over again. He is trustworthy.

God wants to be your “truth”, too. He longs to comfort you during your painful times and be the mender of your broken heart. But first, you must give Him all the pieces.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” (Psalm 46:1-2).

In His Truth,

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