My days have been filled with joy and goodness. Recently I have experienced milestones like watching the seamstress reshape my daughter’s bridal dress to fit her perfectly. This weekend I will attend a bridal shower for my daughter hosted by my sister who is surviving, despite her cancer diagnosis.
Last week I celebrated eight years of marriage to a man who has made my life a pure delight. You all are exceptionally gracious and excessively giving of your time, talents and gifts, as well as care deeply for the work of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Twice I have had conversations where people agreed that the relationship was more important than the thing over which there was conflict. These are good and precious days.
But this morning I woke up to a reality check. Not everyone lives with such ease and goodness.
My dear friend, Kieu (wife of David Doan, retired pastor of the Faith Vietnamese Fellowship that is connected to EPUMC) shared the journey of her daughter, Anh as she battles a very rare form of leukemia. The national news brought more pictures of the violence between Israel and Palestine. On the local news I listened to a grieving grandfather plead for peace and a new way forward after his beloved granddaughter died in gunfire in North Minneapolis as she did the appropriately child-like thing of eating a happy meal in the car.
Even in my joy and goodness, I am aware that the pain of others is intense. Even in the good days in which I feel I am living, I am cut to the core by other’s hurt. And I hear a call by God to bring peace and healing into the lives of those who are aching.
Perhaps one of the most powerful ways we can bring God’s peace and healing into the lives of others is to pray for them. Sometimes the mountains of pain seem so insurmountable that we don’t even attempt prayer. How many times have you prayed for peace in the Middle East, only to be here, still waiting for an answer to that prayer? How many times have you prayed for an end to gun violence, only to turn on the news to another horrific story?
Do not let the mountain before you get all of your attention, rendering you helpless before it. Do not fix your eyes on the problem in a way that causes it to just gets bigger as you focus on its insurmountability. Fix your eyes instead on Jesus. Go to God in prayer. Believe that through prayer God changes things.
But do not stand before the mountain with prayer only. Let that prayer lead to actions that change things. Be someone’s hope. Pursue leaders who can make change happen. Ease the pain of another. Put feet to the prayers of your heart. This is how God changes the world through prayer. And God does change the world through prayer!
May you pray fervently, and be an answer to prayer!
Pastor Becky Jo