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 destroy.
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’s 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.