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Comfort in a Time of Despair

My wife and I read Psalm 74 last night. It was a strange choice - a break from Advent passages about anticipating Christ's coming. One particular phrase lodged itself in our minds: "Have regard for your covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence."

Our minds went first to Rwanda, a country that lives in the shadow of a genocide that killed nearly a million people. My wife, Stephanie, spent time living in Rwanda. She understands better than most the cry for God that goes up from people who are weary of violence. It is a cry that goes up from Darfur and Sudan, Yugoslavia, Kashmir, and many other places. This week, it is a cry that goes up close to home - from Colorado.

For many of us, the violence that took place in Arvada (at a Youth with a Mission dormitory) and in Colorado Springs (at New Life Church) is too close to ignore. It tests our faith. It surfaces questions and doubts. Sometimes our own words fall short.

Today, if you find yourself in such a place, I recommend you pray the words of Asaph in Psalm 74. Enter into the pain, confusion, and weariness of the psalmist: "How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?" Pray for the advent the psalmist sought: "Rise up, O God, and defend your cause."

To consider the many spiritual issues at work in the events of the day, consider going deeper with these tools from Building Church Leaders, Gifted For Leadership's sister site, (all of which are free):

? How to think about evil in light of Christ's victory

? Pastoral tools for answering tough questions

? A leader's forum on planning for the unexpected

May you minister with all of the consoling power of Christ as you walk - and lead - through the valley.

December11, 2007 at 8:55 AM

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