For the last several months we have driven down a busy street in our "micropolitan" city, passing by a confederate flag flying high on a flag pole in the front yard of a small house. It seems out of place up here in the upper Midwest. We don't know who lives in the house, and are not curious to find out. Sometimes we pray for whoever lives there....other times we pass by in silence. Just kitty-corner across the street is a church. An apostolic church where many of the faces inside on Sunday morning are not white. These are black Christians who would deeply feel the historic significance of this banner waving their way. Sobering. Especially after the past couple of weeks. Sobering.
This week a good friend of our oldest and her family grieves the loss of two fellow police officers in his department in Florida. I watched a TV video yesterday of this man washing and sweeping the blood off the street where the police officers were ambushed. Washing the blood of his good friend off the street. A symbol of deep compassion, solidarity and respect. A family of blue coming together to grieve the loss of two of their own who were called to serve and protect. Our son in blue has experienced this kind of loss just last year in the department he works for. It is all so sad. Sobering.
Just a couple of days ago I was reading author and speaker Ann Voskamp's blog where she shared that she is in the midst of recovering from what was a minor surgery and quickly evolved into the beginning of heart failure. A shocking "suddenly" that turned their world upside down. Sobering.
Ann's story brought me to that of my sister's. A little over three weeks ago she had a heart attack and ended up having 6 bypasses. She is a walking miracle. We just went up to spend a day and night with her as the siblings take turns keeping her company this week. The doctor said she will experience 1% improvement a day ......6 months will bring full recovery. She is doing so well, but the scars are vivid reminders of all she has gone through. It is all sobering.
When life throws such circumstances our way it is so very hard not to focus on the hate....or the horror.....the shock...or the trauma. So darn hard to walk through the valley of the shadow, but we never walk alone. Never. It is important to keep our focus on the truth the Word holds for us. We don't deny what is going on, but we don't empower it either. We need to fine tune our focus. We choose to empower what we know about our Lord, what He promises. The sobering events may leave us wounded and in pain, but God is still with us. God is still faithful in our broken world. He weeps with us, He walks with us, He listens, He reminds us Who He is. The Lord who provides........protects.........sees.........heals.............fights for us. Yeah, that is who God is.
"He gives us beauty for ashes
the oil of joy for mourning
the garment of praise
for the spirit of heaviness."