is no satisfactory explanation for most of the tragedies and hardships of life.
Some are caused intentionally. It is completely unfathomable to me as to why
anyone would want to cause harm to others for no reason or even for selfish
reasons. Others are caused by the weather or other acts of nature whose causes
are completely mechanical according to physics, and people just happen to be in
their way. Many are caused by accidents whose prevention can sometimes be anticipated
but often only speculated about in hindsight.
God is not the cause of our disasters, as the superstitious often assert. Rather, God is in the response. Where family, friends, and neighbors jump in to help with immediate needs, God is working through them. Where groups, institutions, and agencies back them up with longer-term assistance, God is working through them. Where we are able to be any part of these forms of response, God is working through us. We are so grateful for all the ways God helps us and others in all the different times of need. God is in the healing response.
Our prayers are a vital part of our response to all degrees of misfortune. Prayer enables us to center our thoughts and feelings in the midst of any storm. The Holy Spirit meets us in prayer, and she calms our spirits, reaffirms God’s love, and reminds us of God’s promises. We connect to Creation in prayer, especially to those for whom we are praying in the difficulties they are facing. Through prayer, we begin to discover additional actions we can take to follow through in the answering of our prayers, some specific and some general, some in word, some in deed, and some in continuing prayer for ourselves and others.
William Batchelder Bradbury wrote in the first song my Dad taught me to play on the piano,
Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless
And since He bids me seek His face
Believe His Word and trust His grace
I'll cast on Him my ev'ry care
And wait for thee sweet hour of prayer
Excerpt from the manuscript of the sermon preached by
Rev. Bill Lawson on June 25, 2023, at Briensburg UMC.