Heartache. As I watch the news reports come in this week from Uvalde, Texas, and reports in recent days from Buffalo, New York and Laguna Hills, California, I can’t get the families who have lost loved ones out of my mind. One of the prayers we have prayed as a church is that God would break our hearts for the things that break His. God sees… and weeps… and we weep with Him in these difficult days.
Words, even words to God, which express the depth of our heartache can be hard to find. Whenever I am at a loss of words to pray, I do two things.
First, I turn to the Psalms. The Psalms are prayers that reflect every emotion any of us has experienced this side of heaven: anger, fear, hopelessness, anxiety, grief, and despair. I’ve found myself looking to the Psalms to help me. Psalm 4 gives words to what is in my heart:
Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?”
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.
But at times, the Psalms don’t suffice. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to ask. I don’t know what to pray.
That’s when I claim the promise from the book of Romans:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26
As we turn to God, our only help and hope, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. Don’t miss that… the Holy Spirit interceded for you. How powerful is that. How needed is that in these days.
Months ago, I invited our dear friend, Dr. Jim Singleton, to be Sunday’s guest preacher. If you have been around a while, you know that Jim has been a gift to this congregation. He preached regularly in the interim season, after Alf was called to Texas and before I came as your Pastor. He has been a personal friend and mentor throughout my ministry. I am grateful that he will be back with us this Sunday. You may not know that Jim served as a pastor in Colorado, Texas, and Washington State, before serving Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary as Associate Professor of Pastoral Leadership and Evangelism. He is completing his 10th year at the seminary and will retire this June. But, even in his retirement, he will keep doing what has been a legacy of his ministry – He will continue coaching and discipling pastors, working half-time for Leighton Ford Ministries.
Jim will be preaching in all of our services with a timely word, “Surprised by Suffering and Joy.” Jim and his wife, Sara, a recently retired Presbyterian pastor, and their adopted grandson, Hunter will be with us on Sunday.
It will be good to gather together on Sunday – to take our heartache to God and look to him as our only help and hope.
Dr. Marnie Crumpler