Symproto

“Thoughts and Prayers”

Oct
04

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer.”

― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

 

With the most recent tragedies, I have noticed an increased attack on anyone offering their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims. Accusations abound how “thoughts and prayers” are useless; after all, we need people of action! The implication being that thought and prayer are not sufficient action, nor are you doing anything else besides offering them. The second implication may or may not be true. It begs the questions: What action do you take when responding to tragedy? What is an appropriate response?

Action is an ambiguous term that can only be defined by each individual. There are numerous ways to respond to a tragedy, some helpful and some not so helpful, but what if the response is simply sending “thoughts and prayers?” Where does this fall in the spectrum and why is it being attacked? I believe it is a larger problem – a country who is pushing further away from God: “for all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” (Isaiah 5:25)

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:35-40)

 

When tragedy happens, there are numerous responses: You can choose to be angry; you can choose to help by donating time, material, blood etc. You can shout to your political leaders to act; You can argue on social media; you can offer your thoughts and prayers; you can even do all of these things combined. Some of these responses may be helpful, some harmful, but all of them are responses that we choose. What is the best way to respond depends on so many factors, but I argue that most important must be to first offer your thoughts and prayers.

It can be easy to forget the first law, which is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Is not sending thoughts and prayers a way to recognize God? If we truly believe that there is a God in heaven, and I do, then doesn’t it make perfect sense to ask for divine help first? What is wrong with an acknowledgement that the tragedy is bigger than all of us? That we need God’s grace to help comfort those who are suffering, because we can’t do it all by ourselves? What better way to show love and appreciation for both God and our fellow man? We do this by first recognizing God and His merciful hand as our foundation. I say foundation because that is not, nor should it be, the end of action, but the beginning. Remember the second law is to love our neighbor.

What happens if circumstances dictate that I cannot donate money, because I am poor? Is it enough to say in my heart that I would give if I had? Would it be enough if instead of donating money, because I do not have, I see a neighbor who just had surgery and I mow their lawn? Is that an appropriate response to a tragedy? Is it enough?

Is it enough if a tragedy leads us to be kinder to others? How about if I simply tell someone that they are awesome? Again, is it enough? or do you want more? I believe this is the point of the Gospels and why we must first recognize God. When acts lead us to God, they lead us to be better to each other, to stop arguing with each other, to stop hating each other, and that is why I believe “thoughts and prayers” are the best response.

So, what are we really arguing about? Well, the truth is we don’t want anything to do with God. We would rather argue and be divisive, because we are angry. We don’t know how to process these things so we blame, not the evil, but God. We ask our political leaders to save us and we want to be right. No matter what, we must be right. Our side would have prevented this, if only the others would listen! So, we attack “thoughts and prayers” because we think we don’t need God, we just need us. We need our response, because it does something! Well, so does “thoughts and prayers” and which response unites and which one divides?

 

 

 

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Can the President Save Us?

Sep
28

Is the President Mighty to Save?

News Headlines:

Donald Trump Could Use Executive Orders to Undo President Obama’s Work – The Devil Is in the Details. 

President Obama Must Use Clemency Power Before Donald Trump Takes Power – Clemency Is Now Critical. 

Many Worry That Trump’s Election Is a Sign of The Apocalypse – The End of the World as We Know It. 

Happy Birthday President Obama, Now Save Us From Trump. 

Ann Coulter: Only ‘President Trump’ Can Save Us From Turning Into ‘Uganda.’ 

Dr. Thomas Sowell argues:

Despite many people who urge us all to vote, as a civic duty, the purpose of elections is not participation. The purpose is to select individuals for offices, including President of the United States. Whoever has that office has our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the fate of the entire nation in his or her hands. (Donald Trump will not save us.)

The “fate of the entire nation” according to Dr. Sowell lies in the President’s ability to save us. But what did the Lord warn us about looking to kings?

But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.

And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Sam. 8:6-7.)

What does it mean to want a king to save us? Is it not that we have rejected the Lord? The Lord having already foreseen this event, provided Moses with instructions for when Israel would want a king:

When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. (Deut. 17: 14-15, 18-20.)

And in the ancient America’s:

Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains, (save it were in their times of wickedness) someone that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge. (3 Nephi 3:19, The Book of Mormon.)

  1. Cleon Skousen elaborates:

The main difference between a king (even one approved by the people) and elected judges, is the fundamental fact that judges do not make laws. They have no legislative power. Kings, on the other hand, have always assumed the authority to issue personal edicts as laws. Kings somehow develop the idea that they are “sovereign.” They rapidly acquire powers by asserting broad authority over the people and are backed up by the army. Those elements of power and aggrandizement soon corrupt both the king and the people. In one generation the people find themselves losing their freedom and drifting into tyranny. (Skousen, W. Cleon, The Majesty of God’s Law, pg. 91.)

President George Washington warned:

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. (Washington’s Farewell Address)

If not the President, who then is mighty to save?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6.)