Greg Buchner: Turn to God during time of ‘the worst ever’

By Pastor Greg Buchner

New Hope United Methodist Church

This past Sunday we talked about God’s love for us in worship here at New Hope. Little did we know how much we were going to need to understand that love just hours after our services.

That night and into the day, little by little we heard about what happened in Las Vegas and our hearts began to swell for everyone who was affected by America’s deadliest mass shooting incident ever. Our thoughts and prayers still remain with the victims, the first responders, a city, a nation, and humanity, as we try to comprehend this “worst ever.”

Have you ever kept a worst-ever list? I know that I probably have thrown those two words around without thinking too much about it. But I know, there have been times in my life when I’ve felt like, “It really can’t get any worse than this.” It’s in those moments, I’ve learned that turning to God is not only the best option, for me it’s the only one.

There is a lot of comfort for days like these in the Scriptures. Let me share some of them with you.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Job 5:11 reads, “He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.”

And the Psalms are full of comfort, too. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 27:1 reminds us, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 55:22 reminds us to, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 119:76 says, “Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.”

Psalm 139:11-12 reads, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 reminds us, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 49:13 reminds us that we can “Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.”

And, in the New Testament, Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:4 that “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

John 14:27 reminds us that Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John 16:33 also quotes Jesus saying, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

And then Paul also shared in 2 Corinthians 1:3 that, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”

And then again in Romans 8:37-39, one of my favorites that I turn to often, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It’s my hope that by sharing these scriptures with you, you’ll be able to have some comfort today and possibly have these the time another “worst ever” comes our way.

Evil may have a time and a place in our world, because of our sin and the sin of others, but we can take heart, when it’s all said and done, evil will lose and love will win.

And then, we will know, beyond any shadow of any doubt, God’s version of the very “best ever!” In God’s bodacious Grace, faultless Truth, and tremendous Love, this is my prayer for our world.

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