with Bob Condly

When the Personal Pales

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America has been pounded. Three hurricanes in rapid succession, followed by the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history. We mourn the death count, ruined lives, and destroyed properties and dreams.

There’s so much to process and too many difficult questions to work through. It’s easy to let yourself get overwhelmed by everything that’s happened.

Perhaps you’re hoping that no one asks you about God. Where was He in the midst of all that gunfire? Why did the Lord allow those hurricanes? People pose these questions to you but you may be asking them yourself. What can you say? You want to help others make some sense out of all this, but where do you begin?

Start with yourself.

Remember the line that flight attendants repeat? “In the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.” It’s not selfish; you can’t help someone if you’ve passed out!

Take Jesus as your role model.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” – Mark 1:35

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16

To communicate God’s heart, to share wisdom that can comfort the grieving, you have get ready. You don’t have to know all the answers. You only have to quiet your soul; then, you can offer His message of hope.

“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. 3Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.” – Psalm 131

When God’s peace rules your heart, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to help others deal with disaster.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” No doubt he was contrasting the power of imagination with past events and future possibilities. But his quip also applies to the suffering of our country.

It’s natural to feel upset by the magnitude of what Americans have endured. Four horrible occurrences. What’s to keep these from happening again? Will the future be as dark as the recent past?

What’s inside you? Anger, fear, worry? Or generosity and courage?

Consider the “Cajun Navy”–men and women who traveled from southern Louisiana to rescue those in the Houston area imperiled by Hurricane Harvey. And in Las Vegas, brave people shielded others from the hail of bullets. Some survived, others didn’t.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13

Again, follow Jesus as your example.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” – 1 John 3:16

But you don’t have to talk yourself into self-sacrifice. Instead, recognize who you are in Christ: dead and raised!

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.” – Romans 6:8

Before you confront the issues and needs of the day, take time to reinforce your personal identity. Align yourself with Jesus, crucified and resurrected. His death is your death; His life is your life. Secure in Christ’s victory, you’ll find all the strength, wisdom, and resolve you need to serve others.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

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By Bob Condly
with Bob Condly

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