Good Evening New Bethel Family:
This morning, I woke up excited about “Purpose” and looking forward to a week of expectation for GOD to do great things. I admit that my joy was dampened by the news of what has been called the deadliest mass shooting in the history of this country. Today marks a very grim moment in the history of our country.
Last night, over 50 people lost their lives and over 500 people were injured while enjoying an evening of music in Las Vegas. How is it that someone could act so callously? And as we consider the tragic circumstances of others who seem to have been forgotten (ie Puerto Rico) how are we supposed to feel? How are we to process all this? It does not seem right. It is a very real possibility that we can be driven into the ground under the weight of the suffering we are experiencing or worse yet, become all together immune to the chaos. In moments like this, words and efforts seem ineffective and attempts at prayer can be hard to muster.
But beloved, the challenge of walking with GOD is believing that we are NEVER without hope. The truth is that nothing we see taking place is beyond the purview of our GOD. In fact, Psalm 121:5 reminds us that even in all of this, “GOD is our keeper.” I wish there was an answer to the suffering of so many in Las Vegas, or even in America at large during recent months. But we do not suffer alone. Christ is with us. I hear Jesus on the cross as he, himself, cries "my GOD, why has thou forsaken me" and I am convinced that He feels our pain because He died. But He also rose. So I know that my redeemer lives and He is with us - Immanuel - even as we go through.
If you have never been present for our midweek Prayer, Praise, and Power experience, this Wednesday would be a great time to join us. We fellowship at 6:00 pm and begin prayer at 7 pm. I do not think it is coincidence that we have been studying the life of Job and the meaning of suffering. The Las Vegas tragedy gives real context to the issue of suffering and the meaning of life, and this will be the focus of our conversation this week.
FULL DISCLOSURE: you will not leave Wednesday's service with answers to all your questions. But prayerfully you will leave with "shalom." Shalom is a Hebrew word that’s interpreted “peace.” It also means "to be without conflict." My prayer is that in all that is going on, you find GOD’s shalom even as you rest in knowing that you are loved infinitely by our true and living GOD.
"'For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you." Isa. 54:10