There was an upset in our neighborhood a few months ago. Word traveled fast that a 17-year-old girl was found shot to death on the back steps of a duplex near our elementary school. She had no criminal record, and the story remained hushed once the home owner claimed no connection to her. A botched robbery or something like that.
So fast forward a few months, and it turns out there’s a connection after all. The homeowner, a man from a prominent family in his 40s (who had since moved), was found burned to death in his car in a near-by town, and in a strange coincidence, he was slain on what would have been the girl’s 18th birthday.
Speculations point to drugs, burglary, dealing, etc.
I don’t know this family. But I understand this man was a father of three, including one little boy Hudson’s age, who attended our school until just recently. I never knew this boy, but as the stories circulated last week, evidently he was a handful. Shocker.
It’s impossible, as a parent, to hear this kind of story without feeling a punch in the gut regarding the surviving children. In the conversation I was a part of, we voiced the sad conclusion that this poor (albeit difficult) child has been relegated to a hopeless future. He’s been left with no chance for normalcy, much less a thriving life. No possibility of overcoming the traumatic childhood he’s been dealt.
Statistics point to it, and heck, common sense points to it.
I have a couple of friends in difficult circumstances right now that statistically, or at least based on conventional wisdom, are spiraling downward into despair. And while these two situations are on my heart now, there are many others, as surely each person alive bears the weight of loved ones in hopelessness: stagnant lives reduced to poverty and depression; marriages eaten up by years of hurt and pride and sin; hardened hearts rejecting truth rather than trembling before it.
It can be difficult to pray, to encourage, to hope, when I look at the situations of my loved ones.
But I am reminded today that our God - our Repairer of Broken Walls - is not bound to statistics. He is not bound to conventional wisdom or to police records or certainly not to my expectations.
Living and active, Isaiah’s words circle around even in 2012 with fresh meaning, fresh encouragement, fresh comfort:
“Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of the past. I will do a NEW thing. It will spring forth!”God is the Restorer of streets with dwellings (our homes).
He makes a way in the desert, He makes streams in the wasteland.
He looses the bonds, unties the heavy burdens we put on each other, breaks every yoke. His light breaks forth like dawn, and our healing quickly appears.
Then the righteousness of the Lord goes before us, and His glory guards us from behind.
But wait - what if my friends don’t have it in them to pull all this together? To do something to start healing?
God says of his chosen,
“Before they call, I will answer.”
Thank you, Jesus.
I don’t know what our Restorer will do with my friends, with these specific broken lives and dead marriages.
I tend to pray according to what I deem possible, according to my friends’ efforts or the degree of their situations.
But the truth is that my prayers are heard by the God MOST HIGH, and He will work according to His abilities, His choices, and His standards. And, as it turns out, He deeply loves His created ones and their marriages. Even more than I do.
Thank you, Jesus.
Isaiah 43:18-20, 58:6-8, 64:15