I get called on a lot to make a statement. I get that. People are looking for an encouraging word or a wise word. But, what about those times when I have nothing to say. No words! That’s how I feel today. I mean I have preached after Oklahoma City, 9-11, Wedgewood Church Shooting, Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Orlando, Lafayette Movie Theater Shooting, and . . . I hate these next words. I have lost track. I hate those words. I don’t want to lose track. Everyone is precious. Every life is precious. But, I don’t think I have anything else to say.
Is that a sign of weakness, cowardice, lack of faith, or lack of wisdom? Believe me, most days, I could own all those titles. But, perhaps, having nothing to say is a good response.
For these questions of our days, there are few answers, and we make a grave mistake when we try to answer. Ask Job and his friends.
Read Job 38-42. I will give you the first seven verses of chapter 38.
Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind. He said:
2 Who is this who obscures My counsel
with ignorant words?
3 Get ready to answer Me like a man;
when I question you, you will inform Me.
4 Where were you when I established the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
5 Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 What supports its foundations?
Or who laid its cornerstone
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job got the message. We see his brief response at the beginning of chapter 40.
3 Then Job answered the Lord:
4 I am so insignificant. How can I answer You?
I place my hand over my mouth.
5 I have spoken once, and I will not reply;
twice, but now I can add nothing.
And so, we learn from Job. Sometimes it is best to say nothing at all. We let God speak. We let God speak when we let His Word speak.
In times of crisis, one of my “go to” places of Scripture is Hebrews. Hebrews was written to a people in crisis. The book gives us a constant theme of encouragement to endure. The closing chapters give us an exhortation of how to respond.
Keep Looking to Jesus!
Hebrews 12:2 calls Him the author and finisher of our faith. I don’t know what people do in these times without Jesus. We will look to Him! We will look to Him in prayer. We will look to Him for hope.
Keep Praising Jesus!
Hebrews 12:28 says that we must serve God with reverence and awe. I need to worship today more than ever. I find that when I worship, I worry less. It’s impossible to worry and worship at the same time.
But worship is more than what is obvious. In addition to praising God in formal and informal times of worship, chapter 13 reveals that worship is revealed in our public actions like loving fellow Christians, strangers, and sufferers. Worship doesn’t stop there. We also reveal our worship in our personal actions as in our marriages and with our money. (Hebrews 13:4-5)
Keep Pouring over the Scriptures!
Hebrews 13:7-9 indicates a third response. We need to let the word of God come in to our lives. We can do this by paying attention to our spiritual leaders (13:7), to the changeless words of Jesus (13:8), and to the basic doctrines. (13:9)
Many will appear with deceptive words in these last days, so we must know well the Word of God.
Keep preaching about Jesus!
Finally, we respond to crisis by letting our witness go out.
Jesus was led out of Jerusalem. He was rejected by the establishment. Jesus now calls us to go outside the camp. The unshaken kingdom has its future not inside, but outside the camp.
A world in crisis can ill afford a church that remains in camp. Instead, we must go outside the camp.
We, like Jesus, must be willing to bear the burden and bear the reproach. Our world desperately needs Jesus.
The answers to El Paso and Dayton are not so much in what we say in the next days, but in what we do.