This week 2 friends of mine died. Jacob and Keith Mulberry were friends from church. We’ve known them for quite some time, and I can honestly say I don’t have a single unhappy or negative memory about either of them. This was very much so unexpected – they were in a tragic car accident Tuesday night. Jacob died at the scence; Keith made it through the night but unfortunately was completely brain dead.
This is obviously a very sad, tragic story. I feel more and more like it’s just time for Jesus to come back. The world and our lives just seem wrought with so much sadness, pain, death, and tragedy. It just seems like we can’t possibly take any more suffering before Christ mercifully returns.
That being said, I am in no way “the best Christian,” or even a good one. I do know what I believe and why I believe it, and I try to live my life in a way that would glorify God. However, there is one particular thing about tragedy that has always bothered me, and it’s the way we “Christians” view prayer. I was first bothered by this when I realized I was doing it. I was studying one night in the midst of a death in the family and came across what is now my favorite verse:
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
-2 Corinthians 12:9
This is my favorite verse for a number of reasons. The number one reason is that I’m comfortable in my skin. I’m confident and don’t worry too much about not being able to handle situations. This verse helps me remember that I must be relient on Christ. If His power is made perfect through anything, that is what I need to do.
Here’s what bothers me – numerous times through this accident and others, I’ve seen or heard people ask
“What can I do? Do you need anything?”
the response: “Just pray.”
“Well, I guess all we can do is pray.”
“There’s nothing left to do but pray…”
This drives me absolutely insane. Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness. When I am not enough, when my “strength” or confidence isn’t enough, Christ is more than enough. His power is all I need. So for this reason, the very first thing we must do is pray. Why would I trust my abilities over Christ’s? Why would I try to handle it myself first, then choose to lean on Him? Is He not infinitely more capable than I? Our reliance on Christ must be our first instinct, so engrained that no other thing comes first. We should live every moment and breath with Him, seeking guidance, confirmation, etc.
After this, my next thought: is our faith really that weak? Do we not believe in the power of prayer above all else? It seems sad that we don’t believe in the power of our Creator to be able to walk us through these times. We have to trust and believe above all else that He is capable of carrying us through them. This should be easy and a comfort – time and time again in scripture we see Jesus scold his disciples for a lack of faith. While Jesus isn’t walking among us in the flesh today, there are plenty of examples in scripture and in life that prove that faith is rewarded.
Check this out:
“The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples.”
This being said, I’m going to make it a point to make sure my first response in these circumstances is to lean on Christ – the person who is MOST capable of handling it. That’s also the greatest gift or help I can give to anyone in trying times.