“We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” Romans 8:28
As the San Bernardino shooting adds to the long list of tragedies in our world, I’ve seen a few posts floating around on social media that seem to imply that the prayers for an end to violence in our world “aren’t working”–that we need to take a seemingly deteriorating situation into our own hands and leave God in the dust.
We don’t understand these types of tragedies. Free will becomes a complex being of its own when distributed to billions of souls from every race, religion, and culture. Yes, we do our best to protect our families, our friends, and our country, and we take actions that we are called to take. But prayer must always remain at the center.
There are times when prayer doesn’t seem to be working, when God seems absent, but is at these very times that great work is being done in the hidden recesses of our hearts. When we persevere in prayer, even when we don’t feel like it, or when we’re tired of waiting around for God, I truly believe He will bless us abundantly–just maybe not in ways that we expect.
I’ve been blessed with people who have come in and out of my life with inspiring stories that emerged from tragedy. A near fatal car accident that left one man saying, “I guess God had to break me so He could put me together the right way.” A girl with a painful neck tumor who taught her family how to trust in God, even when there are no answers. A mother of a victim of the Newtown Sandy Hook massacre–who now writes some of the most beautiful, inspiring reflections on putting our entire strength and trust in God alone. And a mother who lives in my heart–a mother who stood at the foot of a cross, pondering instead of wondering, accepting instead of questioning. All of these “victims” are prayerful people. All of these “victims” have turned tragedy into grace.
If we give up on prayer, we give up on hope. If we give up on prayer, our own efforts no longer have meaning or purpose. It is only through prayer that we know what action to take. It is only through prayer that we are open to the transformative power of tragedy. And it is only through prayer that a world threatening to be overcome by shadow can return to the light.
Image credit Ulrike Mai, Pixabay, CCO Public Domain