“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18); “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” (Psalm 30:11)
Lord Jesus, life between your resurrection and return includes clear signs of your present and coming Kingdom. But it also continues to include painful chapters, conflicts, and tensions—all which remind us just how broken the world remains. Driving through Belfast, Northern Ireland, yesterday reminded me of both realities.
Murals, graffiti, blank stares, and harsh looks all tell a dark story. But then in the same neighborhood, as I stood the in the sanctuary where my beloved brother, Noel Agnew, preached the Gospel for years, welcomed all, and exalted you—wet eyes, a grateful heart, and palpable hope took over the afternoon.
My joy and hope continued to grow as Darlene and I finished our day in Dublin, Ireland, in the home of dear friends, Tom and Vicki Gilliam. The evening bore the aroma of grace, as we enjoyed fellowship with a home group from their church. 10 or 11 of us from 5 or 6 different countries, opened the Scriptures, pondered your love, laughed, encouraged each other, and ended our day. What a foretaste of things to come.
Jesus, you don’t promise us unbreakable hearts or uncrushable spirits before the Day of all-things-new. But you do promise us your unwavering, if sometimes imperceptible, nearness and grace. We’ll never experience a Christ-absent crisis, betrayal, or trauma. You are at work in all places, all the time, no exceptions.
Belfast, Dublin, Mariupol, Ukraine, and Franklin, TN will all be filled one Day with your truth, goodness, and beauty. So Very Amen.