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There are so many people hurting in our country right now! Just this past week hurricane Laura hit Louisiana with record winds, major wild fires are raging in California, and in Kenosha, Wisconsin, protests, rioting, and deadly violence followed a police officer shooting Jacob Blake. All this is happening ad mists the backdrop of COVID-19, as people continue to get sick, social distancing still adds to the difficulties in our lives, and the economic fallout of the pandemic greatly adds to the stress that normally comes with life. One might ask, does God know what is going on right now? Does He care?

The Bible gives us an emphatic YES! Psalm 56:8 speaks of God having “…kept count of my tossings; put my tears in [His] bottle.”

God sees and remembers every time you tossed in bed, not able to sleep, troubled by the tragedies in your life. God knows the exact number of tears you have shed. He knows the pain and sees the tears that continue to be shed by the family and friends of George Floyd; by the families and friends of the police officers injured and killed in the riots which followed, by the families of those injured and killed in Kenosha. He stores the tears of the families of the more than 180,000 people in the United States who have lost their lives from COVID related illness. Though not visible, God was right there with them and their loved ones through their illness, through their tragedy, and will continue to be with family and friends in their mourning. God sees the tears of those who lost homes, businesses, and everything in the hurricane or in the fires this week.

God is with you right now in whatever storm or pain you are going through. God does see, He does care, and He longs to take you in his arms right now to comfort you. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

If God is a God of love and compassion, why does he allow all these bad things to happen? I  have neither the time nor the divine insight to give a full answer to this ancient question, but I do know part of the answer. God allows difficulties and tragedies to get our attention, to remind us of our great need for Him. It is easy to become oblivious of God in good times, but the truth is that we live in a broken world which is under the curse of sin. This is readily apparent on our city streets these days, but it is often easier to see sin in others than in our own lives. We may never have spoken a racial slur or shot someone in cold blood, but the Bible says that if you hate someone you are guilty of murder (1 John 3:15; Matthew 5:21-22). Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin are death.”

The common cry these days is for justice, but our greatest need is actually for forgiveness and mercy. God has given us exactly this by sending his Son Jesus Christ to live the perfect life that we couldn’t, and then to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for every sin that we will ever commit. This great gift of grace is not realized though until we admit that we have sinned, cry out to God for forgiveness, and put our trust in the Lord Jesus who rose from the dead and is now reigning from heaven. If, in pride, we claim to be without sin and say that we do not need Jesus, our suffering in this world will be for nothing and we will find ourselves in unspeakable eternal suffering in hell someday. (John 3:18, Luke 16:22-31, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Have you put your full trust in Jesus Christ? You must know the Lord Jesus to experience His compassion. Perhaps this is why God allowed these trials to come into your life in 2020.

God cares about us sinners with immense love. So those of us who have experienced his love and salvation should likewise share God’s great compassion for the lost and the hurting. Notice from the 2 Corinthians 1 passage quoted above what could be a second reason that we might experience suffering in life: “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

So then Christian brother or sister, what are you doing in this time of need? God put his people in 2020 to comfort and show compassion to others! Individually we can’t change the whole world, but we can reach out in love and with the Gospel of Christ to the hurting people that He brings into our lives. Countless people in our country today have been blinded by the lies of the evil spiritual powers that are at work in this world (1 Timothy 2:26, Ephesians 2:2-3; 6:12), but slamming people with the truth is not going to help. Only when we reach out with genuine compassion, a listening ear, and when we live out the love of Christ by investing in relationships with others, (even those whose actions we don’t agree with), will we truly be used by God to comfort the hurting and effect true heart change.

To stimulate you to love and good deeds, I encourage you to listen to “Giving Your Marriage a Second Chance” on the Family broadcast. This interview with Juana Mikels describes how God took a relationship destroyed by bitterness and anger, and through the gospel of Christ transformed Juana and her husband Terry’s hearts and marriage. God used a Christian couple who were willing to invest their time and life into Juana to help her through a very hard season. If God can transform and restore this marriage relationship, he can remove the bitterness and transform the broken relationships we see all across our country today.

The 8/27/2020 Family Life Network “Faith Under Fire: Fighting for Life with Compassion” interview with Kama Tate Gregory also details how the love of Christ worked to change the heart of a staunch pro-abortion activist, and the 8/27/2020 Break Point Commentary gives examples of churches reaching out to the community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, please contact us at Grace Baptist Church if you are in need of help, or if you just need a friend and someone to pray with you.