The Healing of Our Hurts (Part 1)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV). We are mere days beyond the incredibly tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have listened to many news reports and read numerous others stories in the aftermath of this senseless act of violence. Some have used it to make a point of gun control; others have sought to emphasize the need for further research and treatment of mental illness; and some have even called for an increase in our expression of love and caring to others in such a time as this. All of these points have validity. However, my thoughts went to the sequence of tragedies our population has suffered recently and how we may bring healing to those who hurt so deeply. I was drawn to our reading today. Peter says that “…the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (v. 8). It reminded me of our native mountain lions. Better known as a Cougar, they detect vulnerabilities in their prey and attack the weakest, the young, the sick, or the injured. Studies have confirmed this instinctive cruelty. It’s how the mountain lion lives, following the scent of suffering and feasting on whatever they find. Really they are no different than other predators. And, they are an image of the enemy of our hope and happiness. He hunts with that same instinct, with a cold-hearted and ruthless hunger for the weak or hurting. Satan prowls like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour; and, because he’s clever, he spends a lot of his time among the suffering. He lies in wait with lies, wanting to consume the fragile and vulnerable. Peter knew what it felt like for Satan to pounce on him in difficult circumstances, to find himself suddenly gasping and drowning in temptation, to lack the strength to fight and to be overcome. He abandoned and denied Jesus on the night he died (cf. Luke 22:60). Like a wounded or sick infant deer pitifully trying to escape a mountain lion, the once confident and strong Peter became the defenseless prey. But before Jesus hung on the cross, he had prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail, and that his ministry would rise again from the ashes of fear and defeat (cf. Luke 22:31-32). And the same Peter that cowered in fear before the little servant girl, wrote a letter to suffering Christians everywhere and for all of time, even today. His message is that when suffering comes, God is awakening us to realities deeper and more important than our circumstances. We’ll see some specific principles in the days ahead, but today, turn your attention to the One who has already prayed for you. His prayer is sufficient for the...

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