but first we pray

Yesterday there was a horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

I, along with many, watched the news unfold on TV, my heart breaking.

Images of students coming out, hands up, to be searched.

Images of parents waiting for news of their children, still inside.

Sheriffs tasked with giving report of the injured and the dead.

Unimaginable pain.

And, immediately in the social media realm, there were calls for someone to do something with gun control.

And anger.

And many on social media saying things like this:

prayer post 2

Or, less abrasive, but still mocking:

prayer post 1

First, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m angry as hell too.

I hate this to the core of my soul.

I’m also deeply hurt and sad.

I’m not naive about the way the world works, or what’s going on in Washington, and I certainly do care about the corruption and inaction there. That is not what I’m speaking to at the moment.

Recently, when these terrible things have happened, there has been an immediate outcry in some circles of “keep your thoughts and prayers, we want action.”

While there is certainly nothing wrong with demanding something done, I am truly heartbroken for our nation when everyone can “keep their thoughts and prayers.”

As someone who attends a “Pray First” church and clings to that with all my heart, I believe that praying is the first thing we do in a crisis. That is not to say it’s the only thing we do – and it is not all that God expects us to do – but to say it is nothing – as suggested by the hashtag #thoughtsandprayersdonothing I saw on Twitter earlier today – is to mock God and to ignore one of Jesus’ simplest direct instructions:

prayer post 3

I don’t know why this is so heavy on my heart today but it is.

With my illness, I’ve had to wrestle with the whys of awful things happening – and finally let it go. The answer? Jesus said we WOULD have trouble in this world. There is evil. And suffering. And pain.

prayer post 4

I also believe that He has overcome this world and I trust Him.

I realize that sounds like the standard “churchy answer.”

But sometimes the churchy answer is THE answer. And I’m sure of this one.

I suppose that is why I’m so bothered by all of this mocking of thoughts and prayers.

We are called and repeatedly instructed to be people of prayer, in good and bad times.

It’s a terribly sad time when the immediate response is mock and belittle that in a time of crisis and hurt and despair when the light of Christ is so desperately needed.

So, regardless of what is being said or done elsewhere, of course we act according to our conscience.

But, first, we pray.

Be well, everybody.

Grace and blessings.

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