The shooting at Umqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon
has filled our hearts with sorrow. I
live in Southern Oregon and know many of the pastors and churches involved in
the healing process that is now just beginning. One of these selfless servants is a young pastor who is a chaplain for the
first responders. He was there when bodies
of the victims were first removed from the scene. He saw things no one should ever have to see.
This week, after I talked with some of these church leaders,
I needed to get away and process what I was feeling. I took a long walk along a
country road and began to pray. As I walked, I felt the Lord remind me of something
a young man said to me years ago. What made
Christianity so appealing to him was the resolution it provided for the pain
and sorrow we experience. Christianity provides resolution for the most
challenging and painful things we will encounter in this world – painful events
that take place without reason or explanation. Evil has no good purpose. The enemy comes only to steal, kill and
As I pondered the wisdom of the young man’s words, I
realized how right he was. Jesus is God’s resolution for all the pain and
sorrow of humanity. With Jesus the resolution for death is resurrection. The
resolution for moments of deepest darkness is the brilliant revelation of truth.
The resolution available in pits of despair is hope. Each painful thing we
experience has a polar opposite resolution of goodness sent by God to every
grieving heart. These resolutions are something
only God can provide because they are miraculous in nature.
Every action of Jesus demonstrated the love of the Father.
Jesus never attributed untimely death, murder or tragedy to God. Our
responsibility is to believe in God’s higher reality of love when the natural
evidence speaks to the contrary. Our
life then becomes a response in faith to the promise of God’s goodness in the
midst of sorrow.
The Church is a prophetic community. We see things not yet
present in our world and speak them into existence. When Paul said he desired that
all of us have the ability to prophesy, he was making an invitation to every
Christ-follower to live this way in every circumstance of life. Each of us has the ability to prophesy the
hope of a Kingdom resolution into the pain and heartache that overwhelms our
cities and our nation.
Our calling is to prophesy Heaven upon the earth. In these moments
of revelation our voice becomes part of the redemptive process. Our words of
resolution are not to be couched in some insensitive need to always have
something to say. These prophetic
resolutions must be spoken with a wisdom and tenderness that partners with a Spirit-led
sense of timing.
In moments of human tragedy, God wants us to listen first for
His voice before we begin to speak. Jesus modeled this for us when He spoke only what He heard the Father
saying. When God begins to reveal His
heart you will know it is His voice because His message will be one that, “Gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does
not exist.” (Romans 4:17) His voice will carry resolution.
John shared his revelation from the Isle of Patmos he described a voice shouting
a new reality from Heaven for the earth and its inhabitants, “He
will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow
or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. And the one sitting on
the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:4-5)
words will someday be the ultimate resolution for the pain and sorrow we have
seen in places like Roseburg, Oregon and in many other cities across our nation
when senseless acts of evil are thrust upon its citizens. God’s resolution of
goodness will be the ultimate reality for every hurting heart in every
circumstance of life. Those resolutions are the message we carry. Speak them in faith and trust in the goodness
of God to prevail.