What's This?

Hey y’all! It’s been awhile.

Admittedly, I’ve been busy, getting acclimated to a new job and managing a few volunteer responsibilities. I was pleased with the momentum I had towards the backend of the summer, but I've had to prioritize other things the past few weeks.

Additionally, I’ve had a lot on my mind (with so much happening in the news, etc.). I haven’t known how to best put it to words, which has kept me from posting.

Mostly, it’s been “Why is this happening, and what can we do?” But, it’s also been, “Lord, please give me the words/actions to appropriately care for people during times of need and grief.”

I still don’t know if I’ve done enough or said enough or cared enough. However, I’m confident that the Lord hears our cries and is grieving alongside us. The events of this summer definitely proved that for me.

Yet, that may not seem like enough. With the stale “thoughts and prayers” remarks, it’s easy to grow numb to the power of prayer and become more and more cynical each time a new tragic story storms the headlines.

What can be done?

Some variation of this question has been on mind almost daily. I’m not sure I have an answer short of Jesus’ return, but let me share three things that could provide some initial support.

PRAY

Yes, I know I said just a few lines ago that this seems to be annoying or passive. One can basically name any topic, and there’s likely some politician that’s responded with “our thoughts and prayers are with the family/city/cause.”

Now, I won’t bulldoze this post to chase the rabbits of political debate. Personally, I want to believe that these tweets are genuine and that prayer is actually taking place. But, I get the growing disgust towards these remarks.

Nevertheless, there is power in prayer.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
— James 5:16

Jesus prayed.

He (Jesus) went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.
— Matthew 26:42

ASK QUESTIONS, LISTEN, & LEARN

A few years ago, I stumbled into a heated discussion that only escalated with every phrase I added. I wouldn’t admit this at the time, but it was because of my impatient attitude and ignorance. Basically, I was trying to justify things that I really didn’t have a place to do so.

The other “debater” said, “Drew, you just need to listen.” I had taken his accusations personally and wasn’t in a place where I could hear him and empathize. Maybe we wouldn’t ever agree, but I certainly could have handled the conversation more respectfully.

I think about this often because this person was right. I didn’t know, and I was acting like I did. So whatever hot button issue comes to mind, ask questions and listen, for that’s how we learn.

It might not change your mind or position, but hopefully it will help you see the “other side” as actual people. People, who are probably hurting in some way.

You might not be able to relate, but you can still care. The best way to do that initially is to listen.

CARE FOR THE POOR & MARGINALIZED

Hopefully, the outpouring of prayer and listening will lead to action. And yes, that might be some type of petition, peaceful protest, or conversation with your government representatives.

It also could be serving your neighbors through local non-profits. It might be uncomfortable, but that’s good. I don’t believe Jesus calls us to comfort; He calls us to serve Him.

One really great way to do this: Hope for New York.

Their work supports the efforts of 50 non-profit affiliates in the city. There are a lot of underserved people and a lot of needs that require various time commitments and skill sets. That being said, name your gifting or interest, and there’s likely a role you can fill.

The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.
— Proverbs 22:9