Maggie is afraid of very few things. She is not afraid of the dark. We have learned that the fear of the dark is actually a good boundary. One summer while we were camping, we watched her (unaware of us) unzip the tent, peek around, and walk away into the dark night. In a similar way, pain is a merciful warning. I remember reading about a girl who, because of a rare disorder, could not feel pain. Every parent’s dream right? Not at all. This girl suffered much injury without the merciful warnings of pain.
The earthquake in Haiti has been on my mind all week. My mom told me about a woman needing to be physically restrained by her husband because all 5 of her babies were killed. I have 5 babies. I wanted to throw-up. Oh Church, I hope you are weeping and praying with these people. And I hope we are all weeping and praying for ourselves. Calamity is the Lord’s merciful call to repent. When the tower fell on 18 people in Siloam, Jesus said to the people, “do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13) Calamity is a boundary that reminds us the Lord has made our days “a mere handbreadth” (Psalm 39) and a merciful warning to the living to repent “as long as it is called Today.” (Hebrews 3) In the pain, do not forget: the Lord is in control and He is good. We are the creatures. He is the Creator. Be amazed, repent, and believe the good news, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5)
1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed.”