“I can’t imagine.” Whenever tragedy strikes, these words are often tossed about. Yet, these words don’t carry much truth when you truly stop and think on them. You see, when tragedy strikes, we can indeed imagine, and that is often what makes circumstances all the more real to us and the presence of God all the more powerful.
We are created in the Imago Dei—the image of God—and we have the ability to love and empathize with others. In weeping with those who weep, we are led to pray, and when we are led to pray, we often move and go. We fall on our knees, crying out from the deepest parts of our soul that God would heal hearts, bodies, and minds. We ask Him to move through us and give us the right words to say to ears desperately needing to hear. And while these are beautiful treasures, the questions remain: Do we pray enough? Do we go enough? Do we say enough? As the Body of Christ, can we stop remaining silent? Can we stop letting it be the person with more experience or supposed eloquence speak on our behalf? Can we rise up and be The Church? Can we be His hands and feet, going where we are to go? Yes, we can. And yes, we should.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
The sidelines are no place for the Christian, yet they are overflowing with onlookers. Our families are longing to know the foundation is firm and that we aren’t treading on thin ice, about to fall through. As long as we are living, we need to breathe words of life into the world in which we live. We watch, often numb to the horror before us, as lives are taken—some by their own mothers and others by men claiming to do things in the name of a god who is the work of Satan. We watch as friends lose battles with cancer while others lose marriages to affairs. Through it all, we feel the crushing sting of pain, somehow hoping we can ease theirs. And while we watch, those who are in the heat of the battle are usually just wanting to know they aren’t forgotten. God never leaves us, and He never forsakes us. We are never forgotten, and neither are those in need of our words. So speak up. Don’t worry about saying the perfect thing—just say something and acknowledge that you see, you know, and you feel.
“Let love be genuine…Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor…Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:9-12)
Our country has faced what seems to be an onslaught of trauma lately. The place where “dreams come true” was anything but for one family who lost their 2-year-old son to an alligator. Only days before, 49 men and women were ruthlessly murdered and left behind moms, dads, and friends who will mourn forever in ways we don’t know, but we can imagine—and the imagining is devastating. While we may not know them personally, have we grieved for them? I am certain most parents have indeed cried out to God for the little boy lost, because we picture our own children at that magical kingdom. But have we mourned for the families of those murdered in the terrorist attack at the nightclub? Pain does not have a perfect victim. Pain cuts every person to the core—all the more when the pain is an unwelcome visitor who never leaves a parent, because the suffering involves their child.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
Any of these people could be our friends or our children—and there but for the grace of God we go. We need to practice speaking out and being a voice where there is so much chaos and destruction. Will we grasp the fullness of a story when it is not our own? No. Will we ever know exactly what someone else is going through? Of course not. Will we stop trying to offer peace, encouragement, and words when there are none good enough to give? I hope not. One day, that person in need of a voice may be you, me, or our children.
So stop the silence. Reach out to your friend who had a miscarriage months ago. Tell her you don’t know how she feels, but you feel for her. Pick up the phone and check in on the single dad struggling to raise his children alone. Tell him you don’t know how he feels, but you feel for him. Talk to your children about this world and how God’s grace is abounding, and even though what is going on doesn’t make sense, He is the Anchor who will not be moved. And remember to be the body, because one day you may be the somebody in need.
“In times of prosperity be joyful, but in times of adversity consider this:
God has made one as well as the other, so that no one can discover what the future holds.” (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14)
In His Love,
Gabbie Nolen-Fratantoni loves Jesus and is passionate about serving him through the arts by leading worship and writing for various ministries. She is married to Greg, her hard-working, iron-sharpening-iron spouse. They are opposite in personality but equal in dedication to their marriage and family. Gabbie and Greg are the proud and sleep-deprived parents of two active, sweet, and fun boys and recently welcomed the arrival of their first little girl. An Aggie and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Gabbie is a small-town country girl trapped in the city and loves getting to know people and encouraging them as they seek to know Jesus and make him known.
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