There is very little joy in our households following the horrific murder of 26 innocent people in Sutherland Springs, Texas. You might rightly ask how such a tragedy could occur in a house of worship? Many of you who are looking for answers already know the answers lie within each one of us. By this I mean we see, hear and remain silent. The experience of the agony has visited us several times in the last 40 days and we just wait for the next tragedy to occur. The experience of the agony resides in each one of us and we are to be held accountable. We are now left weeping and praying for those whose lives were cut short in Texas. What a sad commentary on us!
The Scriptures remind us “weeping may endure for the night, but in the morning cometh joy.” Well, its morning and very little joy has come to the families of the victims. We weep, we pray and we taste our tears and the tragic facts seem to recur again and again. Yet, I continue to believe the words from the Scriptures telling you and me that ‘trouble don’t last always.’ I have tried all of my life to keep hope alive, especially during times of drought. Today I decided to raise the water level in my well by affirming the words of a song by the Rev. James Cleveland. “I don’t feel no ways tired, I’ve come to far from where I started from. Nobody told me the road would be easy, I don’t believe God brought me this far to leave me.” Google this song for yourself and experience the waters of life beginning to spring forth and filling your empty well. It’s not complicated! It worked for me!
Next, I found it helpful for me to turn again to the writings of my mentor and friend Dr. Howard Thurman. Many of us turned to Dr. Thurman’s eloquent and inspirational words following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As the nation mourned I remembered being at a park not far from our home in suburban St. Louis. I was with our first child Kathy and upon hearing the news of Dr. King’s death I lifted her up and gave her a huge hug as my tears could not stop flowing. In that moment I gave thanks for my daughter’s love and innocence which gave me instant strength and comfort. Although the two Morehouse College men had never met each other, Dr. King was smitten by Dr. Thurman’s writings especially his book Jesus and the Disinherited which King aways kept in his briefcase. This was Dr. King’s way of making sure the water in his well was rarely empty. I encourage you to go to Amazon and order this book.
Should the water level in your well still be low I leave these words of Howard Thurman to ponder with the hope your well will fill again with water to keep you grounded and to prevent you from going into the abyss:
I share with you the agony o your grief, the anguish of your heart finds echo in my own. I know I cannot enter all you feel nor bear with you the burden of your pain.; I can but offer what my love does give: the strength of caring, the warmth of one who seeks to understand the silent storm-swept barrenness of so great a loss. This I do in quiet ways, that on your lonely path you may not walk alone. Now there it is! Go now and plant your seeds. . .and pray for rain. Stay hopeful and wait for the morning. It will surely come. And so it is! Dr. Paul