Wave after wave of excruciating labor coursed through her body. When the insides of a woman begin to cramp and push, there is an intensity and purpose which will not be hindered. Lack of control over what is happening in her can lead to despair. From the depths of her being my daughter summoned the determination to work with the pain.
She cried out again and through pain gave birth to life. On the other side of it she received her reward. Labor ceased and recovery began.
This is how it works. There is pain in life. A season of struggle, then something gives way. The moment of actual trauma is over and a time of healing can begin.
But what about those who cry out in pain for which there is no apparent reward? There are some very close to my heart who carry deep hurts today. There is much chaos in our world. Personal and community battles. Cries for justice and mercy. Tragic, senseless loss.
These battles are frequently fought because the selfish, evil motives of one slam through the boundary lines of another to take what does not belong to them. Property. Innocence, virtue. Life breath. Stolen.
Dear Jesus, our hearts cry out to You. Even those who claim not to believe – whether their fist is raised or their face – they look to You. These seekers turn to the church and sometimes find a community divided. These wounded souls who need nurturing while they recover often find their caregivers arguing among themselves. Surely they must think there are so many church buildings because we simply can’t get along.
Brothers and sisters, can we please just stop? Now is the time to work together. There is a gospel greater than what songs we sing during church or who prays in tongues and who doesn’t. Let’s remember the reason we have so many church buildings is so we can be the Church in our neighborhoods. The reason we are spread out is so we can spread wide the truth of the love of God. If we want the hurting and lost to believe what we tell them about the love of God, they have to see us loving each other. Then, and only then, are we fully equipped to aid in the recovery of others.
To those who suffer loss we say, “For I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them.” (Isaiah 61:8 NLT)
To those who live in fear we say, “But I will rescue you from those you fear so much. Because you trusted Me, I will give you your life as a reward. I will rescue you and keep you safe. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 39:17-18 NLT)
To those who struggle to forgive we say, “If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you.” (Proverbs 25:21-22 NLT)
To those who turn away from their faith we say, “Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NLT)
To those who feel like giving up we say, “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36 NLT)
The truth is we all long for hope. And we all need healing. There is not one decent person on this earth who isn’t saddened by the injustice in our world today. Most of us are looking for comfort. Together we can look to Jesus, the Anointed One. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Thank You, Jesus, that You are near to the broken hearted.
You are the binder of our wounds. Redeemer of our souls and our grief.
We lift our eyes. We look to You. You are our reward.
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