As one of the biggest running events neared its conclusion yesterday in Boston, time seemed to stop. However, it was not because of a particular underrated runner finishing the 26.2 miles or anything like that. No, this stoppage of time occurred due to the supposed heinous act of an individual or group, who wanted to cause harm to many people. Much like the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine School shooting, the events of 9/11, and others, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing will now go down in history. Unfortunately, it will not be known for an extremely fast runner. Instead, it will be the day at least three families lost a loved one. It will be the day that a friend lost a limb. And it will be the day that many people lost hope in society.
What can I do? That is often the question people ask in a time like this. Sure, there are ways you can physically help in times of need. They will need people to aid with cleanup, and they need adults to give blood, but that often does not answer the question for people. They still are left wondering what they can do. While I am not an expert, and there is certainly much to do at a time like this, I do have a couple suggestions for those of us who find our hope in Christ.
These are the times when we need to pray. Yes, we should pray every day, but when the world is quickly losing hope, we need to get on our knees. We need to cry out to the One who provides hope. We need to pray that they will find their answers in Him. We need to pray for the churches in the area – that they will not lose heart or energy reaching out to those in need. We need to pray for the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff – that they will obtain wisdom and practice expertise, as they treat the victims. We need to pray for the law enforcement – that they will find answers, seek justice, and help everyone feel safe. We need to pray that God will use such a time like this to bring many into a relationship with Him.
Times like these are certainly horrific, but they are also times when people are often most open to ask questions they may not ask any other time. When those questions do come, we need to be ready to point them to the God who loves them. Even though we may not know the exact reason why these horrible things happen, we know the God who never fails. Further, we have a hope that He will rescue us from it all one day. That is the kind of hope people are looking for in the middle of tragedy. They want to know it will be all right. Yes, the pain still exists, but there will be a day when it will be gone. Yes, the hurt is still there, but a time is coming when we will know it no more. Yes, there is a period of suffering here on this earth, but we have a hope that He will take it all away. As the world desperately looks for something to cling to, those of us who know this hope need to share it.
As for my wife, myself, and those at our church, we are standing by, waiting to hear if there is anything more we can do. Being only 30 miles away from the city, we assume there are people we know who were personally affected. Specifically, we have friends living in Boston, and they have told us they will keep us informed on what we can do. Until we know more, though, we will continue praying and seeking ways to point people to Christ. I urge you to join us.