It is the eye of the storm that is most horrific. It is also in the eye of the storm that God’s voice rings the loudest. It’s the storm that produces life’s most amazing miracles. A storm not only ceases over time, it also leaves behind the essence of matter, those things that are built to last. The storm and all of its rage is also where we must watch and see God’s work at its best.
Our local region and our nation and world are all reeling from the recent tragedy in South Carolina. The senseless murder of nine worshippers in their Bible study has gripped the heart of us all. We hurt with the victims’ families. We want answers. We demand justice. We want to hear God speak and see God move. We want the storm to end. Our sad reality is that the current storm is one of many, and there are more to come as our world struggles to find its way back to unconditional love and acceptance.
When tragedy strikes, it is most often difficult to fathom. In our angst, we want God to explain the logic. We expect to receive explanations in real time and in our language. Fortunately, for us, God does not operate in the human realm, nor does she speak through our tongues. We are left to wait, let time pass and see how things turn out. If we look closely, we will see that in time, God answers our cries and rewards our prayers. If we take a moment to pause, look around our world and examine its current battles for peace, we will see that faith guarantees us a better day.
Our ancestors braved many fierce storms over time, from conquering Canaan, surviving exile, overcoming slavery and battling for civil rights. In each instance, there was an outcry and a need for consolation and change. The souls of people lamented, and God, in her own time, answered and restored them. The Israelites were restored and returned to Jerusalem, slaves were emancipated and faced the potential of life in freedom, and 20th Century citizens marched their way towards a dream. The storms raged on, and soon after, we were consoled and braced ourselves for change.
We are now in a season where the storm is defiant and the outcry is blaring. We are demanding change after decades of emotional, physical, psychological exile. We want the blood to stop flowing, the pain to cease and for God to step in. Some of us aren’t inspired to wait and instead desire to act. Yet we all, for the sake of our future generations, must continue to hold on to one another, to our faith and, especially, to love as we watch God restore our weary souls and make the change we wish for a reality.
We don’t have the power to change the intensity or density of our storms, but we do have the power to change how we see them. We can then choose how to respond and how to use our power to work toward the change that is surely coming. We can even work together to make that change possible for generations to come by finding ways to communicate love, to live out our faith and to trust that God has a master plan. The essence of who we are is rooted in love and its purity is built to last. If we trust God and build our hopes on love and let our actions follow, tragedies that are commonplace can one day be rarities that remind us of where we have come from, and of the God that is able to deliver us from where we are. : :