A beautiful, terrible, fearful day in Boston

I had just finished writing a very different blog post for today when I turned the TV on, saw the breaking news from Boston, and learned I would need to write this one instead.  Everyone reporting on the story spoke of the beautiful day people were having, enjoying “Patriots Day” and cheering for the people running the Boston Marathon.  Then the fear that we have stopped fearing became a reality.  What kind of evil tries to kill moms, dads, wives, husbands, children and friends – who just wanted to enjoy a beautiful day in their city?  How do you and I pray against that evil – and obey God’s command to “fear not?”

As I’m writing this, no one knows who planted the two bombs that went off – but they will.  If you are reading this, and they are still looking – pray that God will make the bombers known and guide those who are searching to everyone responsible for this horrific act.  Pray that Jesus will meet them as he met Paul on the road to Damascus – and stop them from committing further harm, just as he did then.  Paul was a terrorist, and then became one of God’s greatest servants.  The prophet Amos wrote, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”  (Amos 5:24)

Pray for the people who have been hurt and will forever live with the scars that this day has brought to their lives.  Pray that people will turn to God and receive his peace.  The prophet Jeremiah said God promised: “I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security (Jeremiah 33:6).  God didn’t just promise healing, he promised abundant peace and abundant security.  Pray for those in Boston who are going to have a difficult time trusting those words. 

Pray for the families who will always have someone missing from their table, from family photos, and from the moments of their future.  People have died and while death is also a promise of Scripture, so is eternal life.  It doesn’t seem fair that innocent people died instead of those who had planned and planted those bombs.  But to those who will mourn, Jeremiah also gave this promise from God: “I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13).  Pray that people will offer God’s forgiveness to the evil, and that God’s forgiveness will change everyone’s hearts.  Rightness with God will be their road to joy.

And for all of us that live in a different city, but the same country.  Pray for our nation and those who will work to lead and protect our citizens.  God knows who planted the bombs, where they are right now, and what to do to punish, redeem and reform all those involved.  Pray that God will grant his wisdom to those who are seeking information.  St. Augustine wrote, “For no one is redeemed except through unmerited mercy, and no one is condemned except through merited judgement.”  We will expect justice from the legal system, but we will receive perfect justice from God.

Today is a day to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  Every news story is another prayer request.  Every face is a soul that needs God’s presence and peace.  And every fear is an opportunity to allow evil to control your thoughts and actions instead of God’s Spirit.  The prophet Isaiah wrote this promise and this command from God: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). 

Pray that people will realize that this world has momentary troubles – but perfection can be their future.  May the Lord bless you with his peace today, and I pray you will have the chance to share the source of your peace with someone who needs it.

Anyone with information on the bombings is being urged to call Boston authorities at 1-800-494-TIPS.

Families trying to locate loved ones can call 617-635-4500 or
use Google Person Finder: http://google.org/personfinder/2013-boston-explosions/

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