Prayer, Love and Gifts of Grace.
This has been a very difficult week.
I am sitting here this morning drinking my coffee and contemplating the goodness of our God. His love. His kindness. His compassion. His attention to detail. It all equals love.
On Monday, I shared a blog post here about Tragedy and Terror.
And then Tuesday morning Tragedy struck our family.
We suddenly lost a member of our family. A young man who had been dating my daughter for 3 years and had been a part of our lives for 4. He was an amazing young man. His integrity and love for others was inspiring. He was a hard worker who loved his family and friends deeply. It is a huge loss for his family, our family and the world.
This kind of loss has the ability to just rob you of so many things in an instant.
Spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.
It is traumatizing.
It is in these times that we need the most covering and protection. We are weak and vulnerable and have a hard time seeing straight.
It is so important that we allow others to come along side of us. We were never meant to do life alone, and especially when these kinds of tragedies hit.
As I had said in my post on Monday, where bad things seem to be overtaking us, there is such an opportunity for God to be our hero and for us to grow in our faith.
When you face tragedy, it is really hard for you to know what you need or want. You feel paralyzed and even the smallest tasks or decisions seem impossible.
And often our instinct is to cocoon into ourselves and shut others out.
People offer to help but we don't know what we need or what to say so we just say "Thank you, we are good". We don't want to be a burden.
I guess my purpose in sharing this today is two fold.
a. What can you do when you are hurting and grieving and need help?
b. What can you do when you know someone who is grieving and needs help?
The Passion Translation says it beautifully in 1 Peter 4.
PRAYER, LOVE and GIFTS OF GRACE.
1. Pray. Prayer is powerful.
"Since we are approaching the end of all things, be intentional, be purposeful and self controlled so you can be given to prayer.."
a. If you find yourself in this place of tragedy, hit your knees and lean into Jesus. He has everything you need to help you through this. Plug into the source of all life, love and grace. He LONGS to hear your requests and his presence is what will help facilitate peace in your hearts.
b. If you know someone who is facing tragedy, pray for them, pray with them, pray over them. Do it in person if you can, but over the phone or just typed out prayer in a text or email is so encouraging. They need you to speak words of life over their situation because they might not have the words for themselves in this moment. Remind them of the goodness of God and how much he loves them through your prayers.
"..above all, constantly echo God's intense love for one another, for love will be a canopy over a multitude of sins."
a. Allow people to love on you. It is hard. You will feel like a mess. You will feel like a burden. But you are not. Those are lies from the enemy who would like to keep you isolated and in hurt. God wants to show you his IMMENSE love for you through others. Let them bring you meals. Let them just sit quietly with you. Let them serve you in whichever way God has put on thier hearts to serve. This intense love in action will cover your hearts and protect them. It is a phenomena I cannot explain. But when we allow the love of others to come into our life during the trials and tribulations, it helps us grieve safely. It helps us be covered by the whipping wind and driving rain of the storm. It is a canopy over us that keeps us held in the hands of God.
b. Find practical ways to love the person in your world who is reeling from tragedy. They may say no. Do it anyways. They honestly don't know what they need. Do it respectfully for sure, but do it. Bring food. Clean their kitchen. Mow their lawn. Fold their laundry. Take their shifts at work or volunteering. Love is a verb. It is an action. What can you do to cover them with your actions. Speak their love language with your actions. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable. Do it anyways. Trust me, they want it. They just don't always know how to say that.
3. Gifts of Grace.
"Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many coloured tapestry of God's grace.."
a. What gifts of grace has God given you? What has he put in you that makes you feel like you are connected to Him and that you use to express your love to/for him? Is it music? Writing? Prayer? Drawing/Painting? Speaking? Plug into those gifts that God has placed in you and use them to express your heart in your time of grieving. Allow God to use what he has already put inside of you to connect back to him. It is also how God will use what is happening in your heart to bless others who come up against the same challenges.
b. If you know someone who is struggling, I ask the same question. What gifts do you have? What is in your hand that you can use to bless someone who is struggling? What gifts has God given you that you can utilize to show kindness and love and mercy to a friend in need? What has God given you that can flow through you to others?
Friends, this is what the church is all about. This right here is what Christ gave his life for.
This community centered on prayer, love and gifts of grace.
It shows something to the lost world that is unmatched outside of the kingdom of God! It shows the world what it means to serve and love the God of the universe. It reflects his heart in ways so intensely that others will take notice and get saved.
I hope this encourages you. It is a bit raw. But it is my heart today.