Boston bombings, Ricin letters, plant explosions, and campus shootings….the last few days have presented a series of traumatic events for the United States. On Monday, we received news of the horrible activities in the East when explosives were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Tuesday brought reports of national leaders receiving correspondence containing Ricin—a deadly poison. Wednesday, the nation received another blow as reports spread via television, radio, and internet of a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. Last night brought the nation the horrible news of a shooting on the campus of MIT. This sequence of national disasters and personal tragedy leaves us wondering how we can meaningfully respond to those suffering in the world around us.
Pray. It should go without saying that we should always remember the power of prayer. We often forget that prayer does have the power to change things. Sometimes, God responds to our prayers by changing the situation. At other times, he responds to our prayers by changing us. Either way, let us recognize the activity of God in the midst of tragedy.
Listen. When tragedy strikes, we often hear about the events and attempt to offer explanations and responses. Instead of offering our own words, let us be willing to listen to those who need to be heard and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in order to know when and what to speak in times like this. Remember to be swift to listen and slow to speak.
Act. In the midst of praying and listening, God might lead some of us to act in specific ways. For some, it might be ways mentioned in Bri’s blog on Wednesday. For others, there may be more specific ways to help those who live in areas where these unfortunate events have taken place. As God calls us to action, may we be ready and willing to participate in what He is already doing to touch people’s hearts and minds.
In reflecting on this week, I find that these events remind us of the fact that we live in a hurting world. May we consistently—and not only when we see tragedies reported on a national scale—look for ways to minister to those around us.