Dear Faith Family,
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3).
Steadfastness. Hope. Wow, those two words appeared to have a fallin’ out this week! This week a condemning report was made public of yet another mainline church denomination. I read that report on the heels of a Barna survey informing us that only thirty-seven percent of “Christian pastors” hold to a biblical worldview! And then came Texas. Yet another senseless massacre!
And no doubt you’ve witnessed the vicious verbal volley as the image-bearing lives of people are slammed back and forth over the proverbial political net. What we do with such hardship is known as grief. Grief is our response to loss. And, we have lost much.
Will you bear with me as I attempt to piece together a couple of thoughts out loud? One: the emotions that we experience (whether our own, those of like mindedness, or those with whom we disagree) are good in as much as they expose our objections and our hurts when things are not right. We are hurting. Our grief shows up in our emotions, all kinds of emotions. Receive the grace to grieve. Extend grace. Know that the emotional outbursts are reactions to something that is not right.
Two: The emotions that we experience can be dangerous. Be careful what you do with your emotions. We’ve all watched as emotional outbursts are misdirected and cause collateral damage. When emotions slide over into the driver’s seat, we often take wrong turns. Be careful to look beneath the surface of the outbursts. It is not ok to abuse others with our grief. Early in the process of grieving is probably not the time to make difficult decisions.
With little effort our lives can be governed by the emotions and the circumstances of life. The thanksgiving offered up in 1 Thessalonians 1 was not for the life governed by what was happening around them (In fact, the church of the Thessalonians received the Word in much affliction.). Instead, the thanksgiving was offered to God as Paul remembered their steadfastness of hope. And where was that hope to be found? In our Lord Jesus Christ! May the Word, Himself, increase our hope in His presence. Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Give yourself the space to grieve, to emote. And don’t forget that others are grieving too (whether they know it or not).
Steadfast in the hope of His presence,