We just returned from a three-week ministry tour starting in Colorado, then Belfast, London and Birmingham in the U.K. and ending in Nice, France. We are continually humbled by God's grace to help others as we simply worship Him and share our hearts, His word and our journey.
While in Belfast, we spoke and sang at Charis Bible College, located on "The Peace Line" between the Catholic & Protestant parts of town. There are so many painful memories associated with the years of war & violence in their city, and prejudice lingers on in the hearts of many whose predecessors have continued to pass it down to the present generations. We had the privilege of sowing many seeds of healing into broken, bruised and guarded lives, and believe they will ripple through both the North and the South. #
We ended the tour ministering at Eglise La Bonne Nouvelle (The Good News Church) in Nice, France, less than a mile from the Promenade des Anglais. This is where just three months earlier a terrorist brutally sped a 19-ton truck through a massive crowd of innocent people, killing 84 men, women and children and injuring hundreds more.
These precious people were simply out on a beautiful day with their families celebrating Bastille Day, a French holiday similar to our Independence Day celebration in the US.
As we spoke with our hostess, Pasteur Marie Helene Moulin about the dreadful attack, she expressed the pain and mourning their city has experienced during these months. Her church has reached out to as many families as possible to bring help and comfort in the aftermath of the tragedy.
The pain and suffering of family members who watched their loved ones, even children brutally run over by a maniacal terrorist in a truck is almost too much to imagine. The sorrow, the anger, the confusion of why and how something like this could happen, is almost too much to bear.
As we visited the memorial, we were overcome with emotion, feeling their pain and heaviness as we walked around the flowers, pictures, stuffed animals and letters from loved ones. It was dreadful, however we knew we were at the right place at the right time to do our best to minister to these broken souls.
Having experienced the terrible loss of our own child, we somewhat understand this kind of anguish and aftermath of tragedy - desperately trying to just breathe, survive, and eventually move forward in your life, with the feeling of a knife still embedded in your heart and soul.
It takes months and sometimes years to simply feel halfway normal inside, and yet you still never forget. In fact, the missing of your loved one often grows stronger with time.
I like what one author said, Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity. It's the price you pay for LOVE.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 has always been one of our favorite scriptures:
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 receive from God.
We sometimes lose sight of the fact that our God is a loving, compassionate Father who understands our weaknesses and pain, and is reaching out with His loving arms to comfort those who mourn and heal broken hearts.
In Psalms we read, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He rescues those who are crushed in spirit. And, The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. (Psalms 34:18 & 145:14)
Notice God never avoids the hurting nor does He rebuke them. He stays close to them while they heal. We should do the same. He doesn't condemn or judge the bruised hearts - instead He rescues them. We need to be that same compassionate vessel - the voice and hands of Jesus to help the hurting.
It's so awesome to remember this beautiful aspect of our God: He is touched with our feelings! He is moved with compassion toward those who are bruised. Isaiah 42:3 confirms this, A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning lamp He will not put out.
The very ministry of Jesus was to heal the broken hearted as HE said in Luke 4:18:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised...
We must remember that God loves us with unfailing love! We can run to Him with our problems and our pain. He doesn't judge us in our sorrow - He comforts us in our sorrow! Jesus Himself wept, and we should also weep with those who weep.
Your Heavenly Father is a safe refuge to express your sorrow, your pain, your confusion and even your anger. He knows our thoughts anyway, so don't try to hide your heart from God. Instead open up and let Him minister His love and comfort back to you. He is waiting for you.
So the LORD must wait for you to come to Him so He can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. (Isaiah 30:18 NLT)
PS. We were humbled to share this affirming message at ELBN Sunday morning, and ask that you continue to pray for the dear hurting people in Nice, France.
If you would like to listen online as Charlie shared this message with a French interpreter recorded live in Nice, go to this link: http://www.elbn.org/sermons/guerit-coeurs-brises/
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