Like many of you, I watched my newsfeed explode last week with reports of the shooting in Las Vegas. I watched along with many of you as the casualties piled up and throughout last week as more and more facts of what happened trickled in.
The same refrain started again.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out..." to the victims, to their families, to the shooter's family, to our leaders. It's the same old song and dance, isn't it? It's such a predictable response that people predictably make jokes about how predictable the response is.
Personally, I think the time for praying is over.
Not that we should stop asking the Lord to bring comfort to the afflicted and justice to the guilty! We should keep on asking God to give wisdom to our leaders and our neighbours' leaders. But these requests ought not take the form of a prayer.
I pray for my meal. I pray my kids have a good night's sleep. I pray for good weather, and occasionally I'll pray for rain. This is beyond all of that, this calls for a cry to the Lord.
In the Old Testament, Israel cried out to God when things were completely a mess. When there was no hope and they were in need of rescue, of redemption.
We are no longer in Old Testament Israel. We are no longer under the Law in the same way. None of that means we are above the idea of "crying out" to the creator when all hope seems lost. Perhaps the time has come to echo the cries of the prophet Habakkuk: "O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?" (Habakkuk 1:2-3)
There is a day coming, and I can't wait, when the rescuer will return. When true justice will ring out like some kind of trumpet and we will see real restoration and real, lasting peace. So don't pray for that day, cry out for it. Cry out for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Cry out to the Lord for justice. Cry out for Jesus to come back and finally finish the work of reconciliation.
As a Biblical conservative, a cultural Liberal, a husband, a dad, and a pastor, I want to see the church act differently in the world. My big passion in ministry is to see how believers can bring the Gospel into the world around them while pursuing the lost art of winsomeness. It is what fuels me and drives me to write. Engaging culture with the truth of the Gospel in a way that is winsome, wise, and as Colossians 4:6 directs us: “seasoned with salt.” It’s my hope that what I say here helps you not only in your own faith, but helps you share it more effectively and fruitfully.
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