The Lord is Near to the Broken-Hearted – Praying for Las Vegas
"You can’t promise me he will come home. You of all people know those are empty words."
This young wife feared her husband would die in a plane crash. An unreasonable fear statistically, but reasonable realistically. She lost her mother when she was sixteen and our own sixteen-year-old son and his friend were in a fatal car accident ten minutes after he left our home.
How do you face life after such horrific loss? Can you live without fear? How do you equip your children to live with purpose and confidence knowing that death stands at the door? Our granddaughter loves country music. Do we beg her not to attend concerts? Do we avoid public gatherings because no matter what precautions are taken, there is no way to stop evil? After our son’s death, we wished we could stop our other children from driving. Maybe that would protect them from death and harm.
In the heart of deep grief and tears shed for people many of us don’t know, thousands of people are asking these questions in the aftermath of the horrific evil perpetrated on concert goers in Las Vegas. How do we stop such evil so that we can enjoy life without terror?
In times like this when the questions have no answers, we go back to what we do know.
What do we know?
We know that evil exists and goes where it will to destroy and kill. We know it will exist until God makes all things new.
We know that there is a time to be born. There is a time to die. As Chuck often said in his messages, “We will all find time to die.” Though that doesn’t seem comforting, the Lord has given us an antidote to death. He sent His Son Jesus to conquer the grave and ensure eternal life for those who love Him. This is the ultimate gift we can purposely and boldly offer to those we love and anyone who will listen. The best protection we can offer our children and anyone who crosses our path is a personal relationship to Jesus.
We can take action. Psalm 34 promises that the Lord is near to the broken hearted. But that is not all the Psalmist offers to the broken hearted. He offers us purposeful living when life is broken. The Psalmist invites us to praise the Lord when we are fearful, to taste and see that the Lord is good, to spend time with Him and embrace the perfect goodness of our God, declaring that when we do, we will be radiant. That radiance translates into offering the help and hope of Jesus to others who are fearful. We can be purposeful in pushing our daily actions through the grid of the call of Jesus to “go and tell” the world about Him. Though we cannot stop death, we can live life with radiant confidence that when the day comes, we will step from earth into Heaven when we belong to Jesus. What better gift to offer our children and those we love?
We can be intentional in our living. We can be life-givers when we walk in the shadow of death (Psalm 23). We can be life givers because God promises to walk with us in that shadow. When Jesus is our personal redeemer we are not hopeless or helpless. We are lights in the darkness because He lives in us. Psalm 34 promises the intimate presence of the Lord when our spirits are crushed and our hearts are hemorrhaging. Sometimes the way He comes close is through the actions of others. We experienced that presence after the deaths of our son and his friend. People became His hands and feet and heart and shoulders to cry on. We knew each one who extended love to us was His messenger. Though we may not be in Las Vegas and able to offer help and hope to those broken by this evil, we can intentionally ask God to use this broken place to make us more aware of people around us who need a touch, who need to taste and see that the Lord is good. We are His hands and feet, offering comfort and peace.
Our entire MARKINC team joins millions around the world who are praying for the people of Las Vegas, for the families of those whose children, husbands, wives, friends will not come home. We are praying that the Lord’s presence will be real as His people offer the help and hope of Jesus. We are praying that we will be ready to offer that same help and hope to the people in our personal worlds.
Read all of Psalm 34 for more help and hope.
In His grip,
Take a look at MARKINC's resources for those who are grieving
Take a Look at our Ask Dr Betters Resource on Public TRAGEDY
1I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
4I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
8Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
17The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
21Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.