Tim Douglas: Comfort and peace
As I reflect over this past year there has been an overwhelming theme of evil, pain and loss in our world, nation and community in 2014.
There have been kidnappings or young girls in areas of the Middle East and those that have been discovered right here in America. There have been beheadings of Americans and those from other countries by terrorists. There have been terrorist attacks by suicide bombers that have killed and maimed thousands. There have been natural disasters that have taken lives and property around the world as well as here in America.
There has been loss of life, both young and old, through tragedy right here in our small town USA. Grief is ramped in our world, in America and in our community at times.
So what does one do to deal with the pain of loss? Many turn to violence as we witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri. Many try to numb the pain through drugs and alcohol and other vices that are only temporary “fixes” that cause more problems.
Some turn inward and try to deal with the emotional depravity in solitude and then find it too much and try to take the pain away by ending their own life. We live in a hurting world, country and community.
Sometimes one does not know what to say to those hurting around them. Some are entrenched in the pain themselves while trying to “be strong” — How many times have you heard that phrase? — for others.
I write to offer hope and a comfort that cannot be found anywhere outside faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Now many may say that God allows bad things to happen to good people and that’s not fair or right of God, or how could God allow those things to happen?
But, we live in an evil and sinful world, and Jesus prayed for his disciples that God would help them while they are in the world while knowing their fate was martyrdom for their faith. Jesus stated on one occasion that believers as well as sinners will suffer things in this life, but Jesus also promised a presence with those who are his.
Jesus told his disciples in John 14 that he was giving them a peace that was different from the world, a divine peace through a relationship with him. Jesus also told his disciples in the same chapter that he would not leave them without asking the Father to send another Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
The only peace I have found when trouble or disaster strikes is faith in Jesus Christ and the assurance that this life is not all I have to hope for. Paul writes that if this life is all we can hope for we are in for a miserable existence.
Bad things will happen. Disaster will strike us at times but the comfort of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, will give strength to endure and focus on eternal things rather than earthly pain and turmoil.
I ask as you finish this article to stop and either ask Jesus for forgiveness of sin and the comfort and peace he gives in a right relationship with him, or think of one or two people or families right here in our community that you can pray for comfort and peace in their lives. What a difference your prayer will make in your life or the life of another today.