June 18, 2017

Who else?

World news burdens me. Fires, bombings, fighting, and other horrors fill the papers and the screen. Many people we know refuse to read or turn on radio and television news. I do, but only to pray for the people involved.

Last night, the news came more directly. Just as we went to bed, our son called to tell us a woman and her dog were hit by a car at a crosswalk beside to his house. Both were killed. He had been directing traffic while a passing paramedic tried to revive her and before the police arrived.

Sleep didn’t come easy. We prayed for the people involved; the woman’s husband and family, the family in the car that hit her, the first responders, and our son and his neighbors (gathered in his backyard in shock). As I listened to his call, my own shock and burden for the people in this and other news stories became more vivid, more of a reason to tell people about Jesus. Who else but Jesus can comfort those in peril or who have lost loved ones in accidents and other tragic events? Who else but Jesus can give lasting hope to the hopeless?

God knew far ahead of today what to say to me. I sit here thinking how much people need Jesus, not only for forgiveness and eternal life, but for this life. He is our shoulder to lean on, the One who carries us through all trials and difficulties. He gives help for today, hope for tomorrow, reassurance and a sense of never being alone.
In the years before Jesus came, the nation Israel had no prophets, no visions, no word from God. Some had lost hope. When Jesus came, they were under Roman rule and oppression, longing for political freedom and for the promised Messiah to come and deliver them.

After Jesus was born, John the Baptist was a forerunner, a man of God who pointed his people to Him. When he was speaking . . .

“One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas’ (which means Peter).” (John 1:40–42)

We do not hear much about Andrew. He was not as significant in Christian history as Simon who became Peter, but he did do this significant thing — he brought Simon to Jesus.

As today’s devotional says, Andrew could not give Simon faith or show him Christ’s glory. He could not save him, but he could tell him what he had seen and bring Simon to a place where he could meet Christ for himself. This resulted in Simon’s conversion. Jesus changed him, even his name, and Simone Peter became a powerful person in the early church.

Sometimes I focus too much on what I cannot do. I feel so helpless listening to the news about daily injustice, accidents, deliberate violence, deaths, injuries, sorrows — and I cannot do anything about any of it. But I can pray. I can write. I can tell others that there is One who gives me grace to care about this world rather than turn my back on it, grace to care that others know about Him, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

Jesus, my story is not like Andrew’s, nor the mission in my life like the mission You gave Peter. Yet You have changed my life. I can remember when I didn’t give a rip about the tragic events in the world, or even in the lives of my friends and neighbors. I knew I should, but must admit that I had very little love for others. Since You came to me and gave me Your life, that changed. Also, my burden grows deeper for the spiritual well-being of the world, for the salvation of people who suffer from their own sin and the sin of others. You are a great Savior, the only One who can bring peace to troubled hearts and peace to a world that is becoming increasingly lawless and violent. I can talk to the world about You, and to You about the world. Save us, Lord Jesus, save us from ourselves.

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