Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thankful Thursday

My heart is troubled upon hearing the most recent news of yet another wayward son whose struggle became deadly. We have all seen and heard the reports of the deadly shooting in Omaha, NE. It is difficult to imagine such despair; a hopelessness that could cause such anger put into action in a Mall during this Season of Hope.

"Now, I'll be famous." These were four of his last words, spoken during a disturbing phone call to the mother of the family he had lived with for the past year. No doubt, a mental breakdown leaves one with a distorted perception, however, I also believe another contributing factor is the 24/7 media coverage of every incident like this that leads a young man, struggling for purpose, longing for acceptance to believe that he can find esteem, even in infamy. However, I am convinced there is a spiritual dimension that is in play as well.

In the temptation of Christ, found in Matthew 4: 1-11, Satan, the "father of lies" (John 8:44), offered fame to Jesus during the isolation of a forty day and forty night fast in the desert. With every temptation, Jesus responded, "It is written....." ""It is also written....." "For it is written...." Oh that everyone who is seeking satisfaction, longing for acceptance, yearning for peace--could find the the healing power of God's written Word (Hebrews 4:12).

In all honesty, I don't know the young man who struggled so throughout his life only to end it in such a desperate way. And yet, I could. For any parent of a prodigal, this tragedy only reminds us how horribly wrong their wayward journey could become.

I don't know his parents, his siblings, or his loved ones; and yet, we all could be one of them. "There but the grace of God, go I" has a familiar ring at such a time as this. Subconciously, I think we all feel this; sadly, our fear is often voiced in criticism. "Where were his parents?" "What did they do wrong?" "Why didn't they do something to prevent this?" At the heart of this criticism is a lie that suggests if, as parents, we do everything right, nothing will go wrong. Not only is this an untruth in our post modern secular thinking, it is spiritually unfounded.

While a tragedy like this offers very little to be thankful for, I am thankful that, as Christians, we can bring a different perspective to this. A perspective that is found within the Word of God. The Word of God is "living and active...[it is] sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." What is the attitude of your heart today as you reflect on this very public but personal tragedy?

"I feel like there is nothing I can do" is another familiar refrain at such a time like this. As Christians, however, even in the midst of the most horrendous situations, there is always something we can do: we must pray!

Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

Pray for the victims of this Mall shooting, pray for the families who are grieving during this Holy Season, pray for the family of this young man who has caused so much pain in his despair. Let's make a difference today; let's put our faith into action as we stand apart from the relentless reporting and critiquing. May your world see that "the Word of Christ" dwells "richly in you" as you hold all of the victims of this heartwrenching tragedy in prayer today.

2 Corinthians 1:4 "...who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

Aren't you grateful that our God "comforts us in all our troubles"!

Aren't you grateful that our God has provided a way to reach out to others--even though unknown!

Aren't you grateful that God uses the experiences of our own pain for the future comfort of others!

I am thankful to join you in prayer today for those, known and unknown, who are hurting today.


Cheryl said...

This is a very touching post. They all need our prayers at this time. I am sorry for the young man who felt the need to hurt so many people. Thanks for you TT post. God Bless!

Laurel Wreath said...

This situation too was heavy on my heart this morning, you spoke about it so eloquently...thank you. Many blessings.

Dawn said...

Just beautifully written, my friend. You have a way with words that is always a blessing to me - and they come from a special heart. I am so glad we are friends.

Good advice, too. Thank you.

Denise said...

Amen, we all need to pray over this horrible tragedy.

Karen H. said...

Good Afternoon Diane,
This is a very good post. It is such a sad situation. We must lift up everyone involved with this incident. I have no idea what makes people want to do these kind of things. All we can do is pray for them all. I watched it on the news last night and it just broke my heart. You know in the past when they first started having all of the school shooting, I thought it would never happen here. It didn't actually happen here, but it did at the Westside School (can't remember what year), which is only 30 miles from me. It was very scary. Then, one time a couple of years ago, here at our school, a guy came to school with a gun and was threatening his girlfriend or wife that worked at the Pre-School part. They put the whole school on lockdown. I didn't know about it until I picked the girls up from school. Now that was a close call. That made me want to keep my girls at home and not send them to school. They don't want to be home-schooled. They enjoy being around their friends. Well, take care my friend and have a Blessed Thursday. May God Bless You and Yours. We all do have alot to be Thankful for on this Thursday.

Karen H.

Barb @ A Chelsea Morning said...

A very moving post, Diane....

No matter how many times I see a tragedy like this all over the news, it's heartbreaking. So, so sad that a person can reach such depths of despair that inflicting this kind of pain on innocent people makes sense to them.

One other quick note...the snow in your Wednesday post is beautiful. And I'm jealous.

nancygrayce said...

I always keep the awareness that this could be my son close to my heart. I agree that our troubled children are so media soaked with this kind of thing that it may make their thoughts go to dark places. Thanks for reminding us to pray!

Sharon Lynne said...

Thank you for this post.

Prayers are ascending for families and especially for the family of this young man.

Because I live in a prodigal's world, I feel deeply for the parents. And I feel compassion for all wayward young adults. Even those that use guns.

It seems God has made me a more compassionate person through my parenting-trials. I can't drive by a homeless person without praying for them...sometimes buying a meal. I think....this could be my own son. I would want someone to help him.

kathy said...

Finding your site is a God-send. Hope I can sign in and read regularly. Am having trouble finding peace over my prodigal son. Am angry. Want to cut off ties to him. Please pray for me.

kathygrace said...

Diane, thank you for your reply. My son is not drinking to excess (as far as I know)or obviously self-destructing as our daughter did. He stopped going to church when he moved to VA about six years ago. About that time he moved in with two guys who smoked and drank a lot from indications out on their patio. About that time he met a new girlfriend ten years younger. Anyway, they acted intimate from the way they touched but son still went to church with us and dusted off his Bible when we came up. This summer he sent us pictures of him with his girlfriend in Costa Rica. Always a drink in his hand or nearby in nearly every picture. (This upsets me because my dad was an alcoholic and so is our daughter.) I immediately became very upset but didn't say a word.
Just before Thanksgiving, before coming down, he emailed his dad that he and his girlfriend had moved in together. My husband isn't upset. No one seems to be except me. I welcomed them and was kind, but am heartsick. I don't want to condone. Am not okay with this. He's always claimed to be a believer and she has too. He just seems to be drifting farther and farther away from the Lord and I'm the only one who seems to be aware of it. I almost wish he were more like our daughter, who, in her prodigal days, was openly anti-God, rebellious. He, on the other hand, seems to have no regrets at all and expects everyone to be okay with his lifestyle. Am I the crazy one here? I am so angry with my husband for making light of his lifestyle. Please, someone, give me some perspective here! I feel that his heart is so hard and he's so complacent. At least if he were being verbally defiant, I could deal with it. This in your face thing is driving me crazy!!!