It is admirable and hoped for that people would draw together and stand strong in the face of a tragedy such as the bombing at the Boston Marathon where many lost much. When precious lives are taken and other lives are cruelly and forever changed, collective strength is necessary and welcomed – especially by those whose strength has been replaced with the shock of sudden brokenness.
The comfort to be found in a group is undeniable. Boston Strong was a natural result of the horror of April 2013 that began at the finish line on Boylston Street and ended beside a dry-docked boat in a backyard in Watertown.
And yet …
A group, however compassionate to its members, that refuses to see truth, refuses in a spirit of community-pride-turned-arrogance to look at, hear, and consider new information, will eventually find itself on the wrong side of history and healing. That is the second wave of a tragedy and its effects can be as damaging and long-lasting as any physical alteration of the body.
This morning the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me with the following passage of scripture. The meaning, as He revealed it, appears interspersed throughout in parentheses. It is not my wish to offend, though hard truth often does.
If it helps the reader to know this, I have been on the receiving end of just this kind of message from the Lord at various times in my own life and for good reason. I also feel it important to make clear that I do not consider the victims of the bombing to be part of this Boston Strong mentality. I see the victims and the Tsarnaevs as people who struggle to move forward against tremendous obstacles with lives greatly altered and full of pain and my heart goes out to them.
Amos 5: 3, 6,7,10 – 15
This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
(Boston), the city that marches out a thousand strong for Israel (Boston Strong) will have only a hundred left, the town that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left. Seek the Lord and live, or He will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire; it will devour, and Bethel will have no one to quench it. You (Judge O’Toole) who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground, you hate the one who reproves in court (Dzhokhar’s defense team) and despise him who tells the truth. You trample on the poor (Dzhokhar) and force him to give you grain. (101M in restitution) Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted vineyards, you will not drink their wine. For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You (the FBI and government officials) oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (Dzhokhar and ALL those unjustly convicted, incarcerated, deported and/or murdered in relation to this case) Therefore the prudent man (the jury and the general public you wish to control) keeps quiet in such times, for the times are evil. Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say He is. (Many whose hands are dirty and hearts are wicked in this case actually attend religious services on a weekly basis.) Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
I learned firsthand what courage is required to embrace this kind of word. I pray that those who need this message most will not only find it and read it, but having done so, will turn from their present way of being and thinking with the courage to begin living it out.
“God rest ye, merry gentlemen. Let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day to save our souls from Satan’s power when we had gone astray. Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy! Oh tidings of comfort and joy!”
The sky is white now with the rain of an approaching storm. Beyond the trees that front my balcony a large bird of prey circles high in the sky on currents he feels but cannot see. Let us poor earth-bound creatures be like that, trusting in a God who can heal the deepest pain, make even the most crooked way straight again, bearing us up when we cannot see a way forward.
I will end this post with the chorus of an old worship song from the seventies. More than forty years later, its words are even more relevant:
His name is Jesus, Jesus
Sad hearts weep no more
He has healed the brokenhearted,
Opened wide the prison door
He is able to deliver evermore!