Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tupelo Thankful

I grew up in the turbulent 1960's and early 1970's. The race riots of the 1960's are still fresh in my mind. Although I didn't see those death-filled riots personally, Walter Cronkite told us about them every evening. The death counts. The property destruction. "And that's the way it is," he'd tell us, and I believed him.

It was worse after Martin Luther King was assassinated. Our nation was filled with anger and violence that continued for years. 

My son was born in the year of the LA riots, following the death of Rodney King. Even after more than two decades, when I think of Los Angeles, I think of violence, anger, and destruction.

The deaths of Timothy Thomas, Freddie Gray, and Michael Brown triggered more recent rioting. Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Ferguson are still recovering. To a lesser extent, even Los Angeles is still recovering.

Terrible things can happen, and they do. 

When I was in high school, a mini-riot occurred at a basketball game. That night is still vivid in mind. Tensions had been high. The fighting began after one smart aleck comment too many. It was that fast. One guy spoke. The second one replied (and smirked) and the first guy came up swinging. It seemed as if every able-bodied guy in the packed gym poured onto the gym floor to join the fight.

Riots erupt just that quickly. When two opposing parties collide, emotions can overwhelm common sense and terrible things can happen. 

That was my fear with the protests scheduled for yesterday. With either party demonstrating alone, there would not have been nearly as much concern (at least on my part). All factors together, though, made for a potential powder keg.

But Tupelo. 

Tupelo did not erupt in violence. Other than some shouting of slogans and a fist fight that involved an outsider, every second of the day was peaceful. The local protestors conducted themselves with dignity and quiet spirits. 

Some would say Tupelo's just different. We're better. We're calmer.

Tupelo may well be different from other towns, but the humans in Tupelo and the surrounding areas are still human, with human emotions and human responses. 

We're not peaceful and happy today because we're good. We could just as easily be grieving and picking up the pieces. 

We have peace today because The Prince of Peace gave it to us. 

More than fifteen thousand people viewed the prayer guide and prayed. Many thousands more prayed on their own. People were literally on their knees and on their faces praying Friday night and all day yesterday. People humbled themselves, repented, and begged God for peace, and He gave it.

We saw 2 Chronicles 7:14 played out before our eyes yesterday in living color, and I hope we never forget it, never stop saying thank you.

Today is not a day for celebrating the "goodness" of Tupelo (although it's a great city). Today is a day for thanking God and celebrating His grace and goodness.

In the early years of Israel, the great victories of God were celebrated with feasting and dancing and songs. Today, we, too, have a great victory to celebrate, so have a wonderful day as you feast, and sing, and even dance with rejoicing for the goodness of God and His precious gift of peace.

Say thank you, children of God, for HE DID IT.

"It is time to celebrate, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10 

"If My people who are called by My name, humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 esv
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Last Minute Prayers of Desperation for Tupelo 
Friday's post link is here: Before Magellan Here's a link to the worldwide prayer guide: The Prayer List 
#prayfortupelo #gratefulheart #thanksgiving