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Let the reality of pain and suffering move us to prayer and action

Posted by Sophy Lim on

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional thoughtfully penned by leaders in DUMC arising from their daily devotions. The devotional’s title, “Our Best Thought” is taken from the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” as a reference to God: “Thou my best thought, by day or by night.” Receive direct updates through a Telegram Channel: https://t.me/ourbestthought


Scripture:

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
 and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Observation:
Psalm 46 provides a dramatic picture of swirling trouble and chaos, as though the whole foundations of the earth would break apart and as though the seas would destroy the mountains. In the midst of this, the Psalmist calls the people of God to go to God for refuge and strength, acknowledging that He is their only dependable source.  With the promise that God would inhabit His people, the people of God can stand strong, God being their helper.

Application / Reflection:
Like the picture provided in Psalm 46, our world and its cities – our earthly dwelling place – is in chaos.

As we battle covid-19 globally, are we aware of the following: the surge in suicide cases, child labour, child-marriage, human trafficking, displaced people, domestic abuses and violence of both adult and minor, Asian-hate crimes, dysfunctional and broken homes, use of drug and substances among minors, the gruesome murders of the innocent, mental-health problems, the worsening of climate change and global warming?

We live in an era of rapid urbanisation and modernisation. As a church, we need to ask if all this progress is truly effective in helping humanity reach a brighter future. Does the increase in the pursuit for better lifestyles and achievements accomplish any good for the world we are living in? Are we aware of the costs our worldly dreams bring to our family, society, and God's creation?

With the promise of God’s inhabitation and power, the church should be the courageous front-liner, the shelter for the displaced and vulnerable, the model of truth and holy living, the restorer of broken walls, and the giver of hope (Isaiah 58).

  1. See and acknowledge the reality of pain and suffering.
    We must not dismiss the reality and existence of pain and suffering caused by human greed and corruption. It is not right for us to pray for God to shield us from the sight of the injustice done to the vulnerable and the creation of God.
  2. Acknowledge our need for God.
    Instead, we must confront our shock, dismay, fear, heartache and helplessness with a bold declaration that: we, the world, are sick, we, the church, are weak; and that we need God to be in our midst to help us with the heaviness of the evil forces and the consequences of sinful deeds.
  3. Take our place in making a difference
    Learn the issue, and be the voice in speaking truth, in prayer, in writing, another others means. Make a difference in someone's life – be the voice for the voiceless.

Instead of running away from something laid so heavily on one's heart, pray that God will use this experience and feelings to move us to prayer and action.

Response
Teach me, Lord, to love as You have loved. Guide me, Lord, to act as You will in bringing light to this generation. Help me, Lord, to be still and rest in Your faithful presence. Grant me the desire to love mercy, act justly and walk humbly at all times (Micah 6:8).

In Jesus' name, Amen.


Sophy Lim is Head of the Social Concerns and Community Development (SCCD) Department. You can respond to this devotional by writing to  .

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional that follows DUMC's Bible Reading Plan. Posts on Sundays. Receive direct updates through a Telegram Channel: https://t.me/ourbestthought