Thursday, August 03, 2006

Where Do We Turn? and What Can We Do?

Today I read Psalms 120-122. In the midst of the emotional turmoil of these days, as I watch Israel attacked both physically and diplomatically, as I watch our media turn a blind eye to their real suffering and instead focusing on the imagined suffering of those who might be offended by President Bush's statements or Mel Gibson's unfortunate demonstration of his sinfulness, I found comfort in Psalm 121.

I lift up my eyes to the hills -
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
The Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip -
He who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor
(Verses 1-4, NIV)

When I am in emotional desperation, I must turn to the Lord, who knows all that is happening and is in control of all of it. And it's fascinating to me that He not only comforts me; He also lets me know in this passage that He is looking out for Israel too. So as I wonder and question what on earth He is doing in Israel today, I am reminded that He is still in charge, and will do what is needed to care for them and draw them to Himself.

Immediately after this Psalm comes Psalm 122, and it also spoke to me this morning:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem;
May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.
For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God
I will seek your prosperity.
(Verses 6-9, NIV)

Just in case we needed it, the psalmist gives us a prayer to pray for Jerusalem - a prayer for that peace which she so desperately needs.

When I was ten years old, there was a very serious earthquake in the nation where I was living, my "adopted home," Guatemala. I discovered then that the best thing American Christians can do as they read the news is to pray for the people involved in that news. We can pray for believers caught in the midst of the chaos - that they will remain firm in their faith, that they will sense God's comfort in their suffering, and that they will have opportunities to share the gospel with those around them. We can pray for unbelievers, also caught - that they will have contact with believers and see the difference in their lives, that their hearts will be opened as a result of what they are experiencing, and that they will turn to the Lord and find Him to be sufficient. We can pray for the leaders of the nations involved, that they will have wisdom and will act quickly to bring what relief they can to their people. And we can pray that God's Name will be glorified as a result of the events we are reading about.

If you, like me, are grieved over what we are seeing happen in the Middle East today, won't you join me in earnest prayer? Together, our prayers can make a difference and perhaps have a role in bringing about "the peace of Jerusalem."

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