We've had a few very dark, cloudy, stormy days. Tornadoes have roared through the Midwest. On the day I took these cloud photos, flash floods rumbled through areas very close to us. People have been killed. Injured. Displaced. Why, God? Why so much tragedy? In my human sinfulness, I cry Why? Then I pray: Please hear the prayers of Your people, save us by Your mercy, and grant us Your peace. Your will be done.
Dark clouds and storms come in many shapes, sizes, and varieties. This week we've had the news of three deaths of our young neighbors' parents. We've received the news of four dear ones needing hospice care. Why, God? Why so much illness and heartache and loss? In my human sinfulness, I cry Why? Then I pray: Please hear the prayers of Your people, give healing to the ill, provide each a miracle, and grant us Your peace. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Last evening our small group Bible study focused on Luke 8. Our study goals were these--that by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word, we will:
* be strengthened in our faith in Jesus' power over sin and death;
* openly and without shame, ask Jesus for healing;
* turn to the Sacraments and the Scripture for forgiveness and strength; and
* live in hope, no matter what circumstances we face.
In the dark days and lowest of valleys, we wonder if the sun will ever shine again. What would we do without the promises of God, all "Yes" because of Jesus and what He's done for us on the cross? Without Him we would have no hope. God's Son is our best ray of hope.
Our study guide, "The Heart of Jesus" (CPH), written by Jane L. Fryar, emphasizes:
Remember your Savior and the power of His Word ... He is at work on your behalf right now--and just because you cannot see what He is doing doesn't change that fact. Hope in Him!
Let the Holy Spirit work confidence and trust in you before your skies darken and the earth shakes. Let Him teach you the truth: "In quietness and in trust shall be your strength" (Isaiah 30:15 -- NIV).
Another of my favorite verses is:
His anger lasts only a moment. His favor lasts a lifetime.
Weeping may last for the night, but there is a song of joy in the morning. (Psalm 30:5 -- God's Word translation)
Our hope is in You, Lord!