The darkness overshadows the sun.
So I sit in my armchair, the day dying outside and read the news.
And once I start, I can’t stop because the chaos overwhelms me and everywhere are guns and bombs and hurt and I just shake my head.
My coffee grows cold; I grow angry.
And I seriously contemplate how long God will allow it, allow all this chaos but maybe it’s not so bad, maybe I’m overreacting, I think, but every time I flip the page, there is another article and someone else, it seems, is suffering in the hands of evil.
3 Killed, More than 140 Hurt in Boston Marathon Bombing the title reads. And the one after that: Cop Shoots Baby, Boyfriend, Self to Death. And then: Horror: 6 Strangled To Death, 1 Decapitated in Mexican Resort Town.
I don’t read them. Because I’m tired of the heartache, tired of all the pain so instead, I stare into the darkness and plead, “Lord, show me how to pray. Because I don’t know how anymore. In a world so filled with darkness… a world so desperately in need of hope, how is my prayer going to make a difference?”
Soft comes the reply.
When ye pray, say… Our Father, which art in heaven….
Our Father, not my Father, but ours together so I realize I’m not only praying for myself but for everyone in the world. So I think of the nameless around the world who are hurting. I picture them in my mind, feel their hurt as if it were my own, and I give it to you, Lord, because You alone are the answer to this darkness.
Hallowed be thy name…
Yes, here, in Your presence Lord, my heart is hushed. Peace, I pray for today. Not only for myself but for those without peace too for surely the chaos would stop if the world knew Your peace.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.
Protect us, Lord. Protect us from the evil of today, from the confusion. Create in us a dwelling place, a haven, a respite of love. And teach us how to love even when we don’t understand.
As in heaven, so in earth.
You haven’t forgotten us, Lord. The things of this world, these trials, You are acutely aware, Your ear is tuned to the hearts of your children and like children, we come, begging to be held in Your embrace, and would you tell us again, the old, old story of the rugged cross, of redemption for all the world?
Give us day by day our daily bread.
This is our humble plea. That we, as believers, as a nation, as a world would be nourished from Your divine touch, that we would be healed and given that which will make us wholly whole.
And forgive us our sins…
Yes, we pray together today, for the sins of our own hearts, first of all, but the sins of those around the world too, that they might know calmness from their heart storms.
For we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us.
The world, the voices in the newspaper, they owe me nothing and yet I must forgive. Because there are surely times when others must forgive me.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
This, right here, I sit here and my heart bleeds and it drips onto my fingers typing these words for this, please Lord, just… keep us.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
And ever and ever and ever…
I stare deep into my coffee, watch the tendrils of steam rise and fall soft against my cheeks and when I raise my head, the darkness outside greets me but it isn’t scary anymore…
Because the darkness seems to be beckoning, calling me into a place of trust; into a place of trusting the world, trusting all I hold dear, into His arms. And this I know.
We are all going to be okay.
[Photo: Thomas Leuthard, Creative Commons]