An Interesting Word and the Universal Question

After our plane landed in Anchorage and we retrieved our luggage, we waved a taxi.  I engaged the driver in conversation.  I learned of his roots (Yugoslavia) and his nearly thirty-year ago move to Alaska.  He likes our relatively sparsely populated state and rarely visits his homeland.  He does, however, speak of his homeland and remembers the days of war that occurred in the 90s and discusses the struggles that remain.  We spoke of those struggles in Europe, of our own in America and Alaska, and taxes (It’s amazing how much one can learn in a brief $22 drive).  As we neared my neighborhood I, feeling led by my Lord to do so, spoke of hope and prayer.  He received the words well and agreed.  I smiled, paid the fee, shook his hand, and wished him a good evening.  Little did I know how fitting those words of hope and prayer would be for the following AM. 

I’ll explain. 

She spoke calmly as she informed the travelers in the terminal that their flight had been canceled.  They awaited more information.  Meanwhile, my family and I departed on our flight from the same terminal giving little thought to those left waiting.  The next morning as I removed the newspaper from the orange plastic wrap and read, I knew the reason for the cancellation – Esteban Santiago’s shooting spree.  Santiago took five lives, physically wounded six others, and caused emotional trauma to innumerable travelers and loved ones. 

I don’t know if the helpful airline agent knew the reason for the delay she announced.  If not, she was merely passing along needed information.  If she did, then she wisely withheld knowledge best not known by the soon-to-be air-bound passengers.  With wheels now on the ground, all know the reason.

Reason.  There’s an interesting word. 
Why?  There’s a universal question. 

When events like the one in Fort Lauderdale occur, reason and why? enter the conversation.  Investigators probe the case and psychologists analyze the shooter seeking answers; so, too, do we.  We seek answers from God. 

He is quite familiar with our questions.  They are as old as Genesis, perhaps even Eden. 

I do not attempt here to provide answers.  I join you in the asking. 

I do, however, point to hope. 

I point also to prayer. 

Recall the words of the Apostle Paul – (Philippians 4:4-9)

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
That “rejoice” part is a bit difficult to swallow at times.  When it is, proceed to the “gentleness” and “do not be anxious” steps (they will help you with your ability to swallow when you return to the first step) and continue on to the suggested topics of thought – Truth, nobility, etc.  Those topics certainly cheer the hearts of those whose minds are consumed with reflections on death, taxes, and “reasons.”  We never should turn a blind eye to the troubles of this world or retain a callous heart toward those in pain.  At the same time, surrendering to constant reflection on the less than noble and quite unlovely fails to bring about even one thing excellent and praiseworthy.     

Think.  Live.  Love.  Hope.  Pray. 

And the God of peace will be with you. 

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