When Jesus walked the earth, he often stopped in the middle of his travels for those who called out to him, whether it was a little man who’d climbed a tree to get a better view, or an ill woman touching the hem of his garment for healing, hoping not to be noticed. Jesus was God’s skin to those around him, and so he often “changed his agenda” for those in need. I wonder, though, if His real agenda was giving life to that little man, and healing the woman needing his touch. His travels only the method getting to the real agenda.
Jesus was one who may have delayed responding to a call to “come quickly, your friend is ill”, not because his agenda was more important, but only because the delay was critical to greater love. He was one who knew Martha needed reassurance that her trust in him wasn’t in vain; while her sister Mary longed for his empathetic tears.
I’ve never experienced anything like what happened in Las Vegas, and to pretend I have wisdom to impart or help to give would be very foolish, and unfeeling. But I can offer a prayer to the God who knows exactly what is needed, gives it in the proper time, and with an empathy that defies human understanding.
Thank you Lord for the First Responders and those citizens who exhibited great heroism. Please bring quick healing to the two police officers who were injured. Be with the families of the two who gave their lives. Bring healing to not only the wounds of body but also of soul.
Dear Lord, please be with those working at the hospitals that night, and those who are still ministering to the wounded. Give them strength to keep going, as exhausted as they must be both in mind and body. Give them words of comfort, even when their own minds scream out “why?” Give skill to those who even today must continue to clean up wounds and mend bodies, while trying to maintain their own composure. Bless them with strength and courage beyond their own abilities.
Be with those today who now have empty chairs at the table, and empty spaces beside them in bed. Be with those who wonder if peaceful sleep will ever return without nightmares they wish were only nightmares. Be with children who must now learn to grow up without that lap to crawl onto; with husbands who thought it would be forever and “death us do part” wouldn’t end this way. Be with moms who won’t cradle their children again, and wives who never thought they’d raise their children alone.
Be with those who now must live with the knowing. The sounds. The memories no one should ever have to live with. Come alongside as they venture into their neighborhoods and communities once again, wondering if safety will always be elusive. Still the revolving movies with instant replay beyond their control. Squelch the hatred and anger that would rip they and their families apart. Bring peace.
Be with the family who now must live with the same name, the old address, the familiar face. Help them as they cope with what has happened, and in mercy help them bear the load they never imagined they’d need to bear. Draw them to you, the only One who could bear such a load without stumbling forever.
Be with our nation in the choosing. May we choose compassion rather than agenda. May we choose unity rather than disparity. May we choose outstretched palms to both You and those around us, rather than upraised fists. May we choose to cry for comfort rather than scream blasphemies. May we eventually realize that You even take blasphemies and see them for what they are, showing amazing grace in the middle. Turn our hearts toward you.
May those of us who know you, not forget to call out for these who may not; not only today and tomorrow, but next month and even next year. For their pain won’t end as quickly as ours.
In Jesus’ name, amen.