Wednesday, June 15, 2016

After Orlando: Gratitude


As I begin to write this pre-dawn morning, I'm propped up in bed, pillows behind my back, looking out the French doors at the lake. Two sweet but sassy little dogs are snoring beside me. It's already a gorgeous day. 

My son is coming home for a visit in three days and I'm ecstatic.

Today, I'll write, finish a continuing education course, and prepare for Ryan's arrival. Sam and I'll drink coffee on the screened porch, feed fish, walk the dogs, work in the garden.

It'll be a good day here, and I'm deeply grateful.

In Orlando, however, there aren't any good days yet. The families of 49 victims prepare for funerals they never expected. Families and friends of the wounded wait anxiously for them to recover. 

City officials are still reeling, too. They've set up a Family Assistance Center, offering help with everything from translation services to funeral services. 

Citizens are still stunned, horrified by the events that unfolded in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The news agencies are still running follow-up stories on the Orlando tragedy, but they'll soon turn to the next crisis. We'll go back to our lives and the attention focused on Orlando will die down. We've been trained by our constant barrage of news and information to move from one crisis to the next. 

This time, I want to linger here a bit. Focus my attention on those who remain to deal with the aftermath of Orlando. Continue to pray for them as they deal with the unthinkable. 

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Today, as we're enjoying our morning coffee, laughing with friends, loving our families, let's savor every precious moment, for circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. 

Let's move a little closer together as Americans, as the body of Christ, as family and friends. Cherish each other and celebrate our faith together.

Most of all, let's thank God for the blessings He gave in the midst of the tragedy. The lives that were spared. The policemen who rushed in, despite the danger. The outpouring of support for the victims and their families.

We serve a good God who, even on the darkest days, can bring light into the most hopeless of situations. Even in the deepest sorrow, He can bring comfort and peace. I'm praying He does that for the people of Orlando. 

I recognize that, even now, not all the sorrow is located in Orlando. There are people around us every day who are suffering in ways we can't even imagine. Let's allow this tragedy to open our eyes to the pain in our midst, to help us reach out to each other, to love and serve our fellow man. 

Let's pray this tragedy will be used by God to make us better, more like Him. More loving. More kind. More humble. More gentle.

Pray for and reach out to those who suffer. No matter where they are.

"This is My commandment, 
that you love one another as I have loved you..." 
John 15:12

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles, 
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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In case you missed it, here are the links to After Orlando and After Orlando: Lowering the Flag

#orlando #burdenbearer #disciple