10 Minutes Peace
by Susan McGrath
With gunshots echoing off the walls of hearts and imaginations throughout America, I felt led to express some thoughts on the violence splashed across the headlines in the last few days. Interestingly, from the opening sentence, this week's column could reflect on Columbine or the assassination of JFK or the Vietnam War, the Civil War, even. Sad but true.
Every time our country experiences a school shooting, I hear someone comment, "It's starting again." My question is, "Did it ever stop?" From Cain's murder of Abel in Genesis to the massacre at Virginia Tech this week, violence has been a part of our world and always will be. We often get more emotional about tragedies involving young people, yet we rarely hear now of the soldiers bravely sacrificing on the other side of the world. They have been reduced to a body count on the nightly news.
I believe our reaction to violence, the example we show our children, is what will give value to the life of a victim or hero. As Virginia Governor Tim Kaine spoke at a convocation at the school the day after the shootings, he referenced several scriptures, but he reminded the students that the world was watching them through this tragedy and that they had shown strength and love.
As I confront violence and adversity every day, my children are watching me, the world is watching me. My claim to be a Christian, a Christ follower, must go beyond words to action and reaction that honors my Lord. Can I stop a depressed psychopath thousands of miles away of whom I have no knowledge? No. Can I protect the soldiers fighting for another country's freedom? Absolutely not. Although there are some localized and immediate issues where I can affect change, the most useful and meaningful thing I can do is pray in, through and for all these situations and the people involved.
My prayers should be for their comfort and strength and that they can grow deeper in their relationship with the Lord through their experience or come to know Him for the first time through the love and kindness of someone around them.
I also can show indignation and concern when violence could have been prevented and share those views not just with my friends and coworkers but with my legislators through correspondence and voting. Violence is here to stay. We can't stop it all. God won't stop it all. Daniel 9:26 says, " . . . War will continue until the end and desolations have been decreed." Jesus says in Matthew 24: 6, "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come."
So my best use of energy and emotion is to pray through it when it strikes far away and offer a shoulder when it strikes home. James 5:8 urges, "You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need Practice hospitality." - Romans 12:12
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a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;
living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;
completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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