Saturday, April 20, 2013

In The Wake of The Boston Marathon

Perhaps it was through divine providence that my post this week was about faith.  The tragedy and manhunt surrounding the Boston Marathon certainly had us depending on it.  Faith that God's hands would be with the injured and the brave people who ran to the victims' aid.  Faith that God's arms would surround and comfort those who were left mourning, like the family of the deceased eight-year-old boy.  And faith that God's protection would be with those who were scared and scrambling as the manhunt ensued.  Praise God that the second suspect has been captured and healing can begin.

My post included a reflection on the importance of faith's conviction:  "Conviction that we are not alone. Conviction that God's goodness is alive in our broken world. And conviction that new life out of ashes is always possible through Christ."  As Boston and the country recovers from the real and figurative ashes of this tragedy, we can see signs of new life at work.  We saw it on Friday as the Watertown community came together with tears and cheers for each rescue vehicle that passed by them after the suspect's capture. 

This sign of thanksgiving and togetherness was echoed in the media's encouragement to "look for the helpers."  Mr. Rogers, the popular children's television icon, coined that phrase as a sign of active hope in tragedy.  He said, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."  Hope was alive in Boston, for there was no shortage of helpers - of real heroes.

I heard a Christian radio station expand upon Mr. Rogers' advice.  Mr. Rogers reflected upon the importance of adults comforting their children in troubling times.  He said that it is important to remind your children that they are safe in your presence and that you as a parent are always available to listen and be there for them.  It made me think about God's promise to do the same for us as his children.  Psalm 46 begins, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea..." (NIV).  The Lord is our strength and will never abandon us.  We may not understand why things happen, or why sin can have such a devastating effect on our world, but we can always trust that God's power is alive.

It is through the eyes of people who have suffered that we can see the suffering of others anew.  We can work to bless others and bring understanding to those who are in pain.  We can bind together what once was broken, and in our effort to mend fences, the holes in our heart can heal too.  The miraculous promises of our Savior are active in the world partially to the extent that we open ourselves up to be those "helpers" - in the broader communal sense and at home.  I have not shared the events in Boston with my children, for they are still too young.  But I can attempt to model the kind of compassion that I want to see in the world. 

May peace find you as you reflect upon these happenings.  And may God's enduring light shield and strengthen your heart. 

Note:  To read my devotion about faith referenced above, "Warning: Peaks Ahead," click here:

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