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Responding to Tragedy

10.03.17 | Suffering, Tragedy | by Kevin DeYoung

    As Christ followers our response when tragedy strikes needs to be grounded in a biblical worldview, saturated with sincere intercession, and overflow into loving engagement and gospel conversations with those we encounter on a daily basis. Here is one way to prepare your heart for those conversations.

    O gracious God, we can see your presence and your power at work in the world (Rom. 1:7, 20), but often the truth seems submerged under so many lies (Rom. 1:23). We like to think our world is safe and good and peaceful, but we know there is all manner of unrighteousness, evil, and malice (Rom. 1:29). We renounce all that is foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless (Rom. 1:31), and confess that the same spirit of rebellion can pulse through our veins (Rom. 2:1).

    You are a righteous Judge, storing up judgment for the impenitent (Rom. 2:5). Pour out your wrath and fury upon the godless, and in your kindness lead us to repentance that we might not be numbered among them (Rom. 2:4-8). Speak to the consciences of your creatures that we may run from what is wrong and turn to what is right (Rom. 2:14-16).

    Sovereign Lord, may the unrighteousness of man serve to show the world your righteousness (Rom. 3:5). Apart from you, we are not merely broken and wounded, but worthless and wicked (Rom. 3:12). We see the feet of those who are swift to shed blood and shudder to think of the ruin and misery they leave in their paths (Rom. 3:15-16). It is true of killers, shooters, and terrorists—just as it was once true of of us—there is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom. 3:18).

    Have mercy, O God, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Justify us by the grace that is ours in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24). Forgive our lawless deeds (Rom. 4:7). May grace reign in us through the righteousness that leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 5:21). Crucify our sinful desires (Rom. 6:6). Set us free from the things to lead to death (Rom. 6:21). Make us slaves to ever increasing righteousness (Rom. 6:18, 19, 22). Deliver us, O Lord, from these bodies of death (Rom. 7:24).

    We know that we are not yet what we will be; oh how eagerly we long for the revealing of your glory in us (Rom. 8:18-19). In the midst of so much death, disease, and destruction, we join with all creation in groaning for freedom, in crying out for relief from the bondage to decay (Rom. 8:20-23). We want to hope, but hope is hard, so give us patience to wait for what we cannot see (Rom. 8:24-25).

    Grant us your Spirit—an aid in weakness and an intercessor to pray when we don’t know what to speak (Rom. 8:26-27). We know that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to your purpose (Rom. 8:28). So keep those you call and bring safely home all all your children still on the journey (Rom. 8:29-30).

    Many people are hurting. So many struggle. And so many things can seem against us. But if you are for us, that is more than enough (Rom. 8:31). If you gave up your Son, we can trust you to take up our cause (Rom. 8:32). No matter the trial and no matter the trouble, we know Jesus is praying for us, Jesus is with us, and Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us (Rom. 8:34-39).

    We praise you, O God, for your never failing, never faltering, never giving up on us love (Rom. 8:37-39).