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Thursday Thoughts October 12, 2023

 Thursday Thoughts

October 12, 2023


The whole world is watching in horror as Israel declared war on Gaza after a terrorist group from Gaza attacked, killed, tortured, and took hostage many people from Israel, including Americans. A deadly earthquake has shaken northwest Afghanistan, killing thousands. Forest fires in Canada have burned 42.7 million acres, more than double the previous record. Several New England states and New York have been hit hard with flooding. Two dams collapse in Libya killing more people than we will ever know. There is a severe drought in Brazil's Amazon basin triggering worries about the future of the rainforest, a major oxygen-producing source for the planet. There have been over 500 mass shootings in the United States this year. The US Congress spins its wheels due to partisan bickering and drama, getting nothing done. Our nation is deeply divided over being red or blue, with compromise being an alien concept. Have you read enough of these horrible headlines gleaned from recent new stories? It is enough to make one want to run away and hide but there is no place to go. know that led me to a song, "Where Could I Go But To The Lord?"

It is sometimes hard to admit that we have no control over events. Sure, we can work in our own families and groups of friends to promote harmony and goodwill, but as we often see, we can't even get that done unless all parties want to promote healing.

So what do we control? The truth is we don't control anything except how we respond. How much time do we spend fretting about a problem versus praying about it? We have many reassurances in scripture that help us see that God is in control. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart!" John 16:33. The world is full of people who do not know Christ and therefore out of sync with him. But we have 24-hour access and a mind and heart to pray.

The Psalms are overflowing with prayers and hymns that point us to the fact that God is our refuge even if the world is falling apart around us literally or figuratively. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46:1-3.

Yes, you say but God didn't take this hurt away, didn't cure the illness, didn't make my marriage better, didn't stop the addictive behavior, or do whatever we are praying about. God didn't promise he would make the situation better instantly, which might happen. Maybe the answer comes over time, all the while we grow in faith, watch, and wait. Maybe the answer is no because what we are asking is not in his will. Or the prayer will be answered ultimately. We don't get to decide. But we do get to decide whom we will trust. "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone: my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."             Psalm 62:5-8

The headlines are horrible. But inside the covers of our Bibles is the ultimate good news. We may witness or experience tragedy. We may bear the burden of tough decisions, our faces reflecting the battles we are fighting. But we do not bear it alone. God is with us and for us. "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."    Isaiah 41:10





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