BAD NEWS! GOOD GRIEF!
Sometimes bad news catches us totally off guard and reduces us to tears. We hurt so badly that we need time to nurse the hurt; we need time away from distractions; we shun even physical sustenance. News about the destruction of Nehemiah’s beloved homeland evoked such a response in him. His feelings of patriotism, of concern for the Jews in Jerusalem, made him heartsick. As a royal cupbearer, Nehemiah was living a comfortable life in the palace of the king of Persia, far away from the strife and violence that ripped Jerusalem. Yet, he chose not to ignore the situation. He did not turn a deaf ear nor shrug his shoulders at the news. In his distress he wept bitterly and went to God in prayer for solace.
We don’t have to search the media for bad news about our city. It is there, up front and personal, all around us. God expects us to be concerned. He wants our hearts to be broken as we consider those who are less fortunate and are experiencing pain and suffering. God wants us to act, but he desires that we come to him first, in prayer, for guidance and direction.
What is your typical reaction to bad news or news that involves harm or danger to your loved ones? Think about your city. Have you ever felt particularly moved by its conditions? What situations triggered this feeling and how did you respond? Did you pray?
Ask God to direct you to a particular troubling issue in your city. Spend time praying and fasting for its resolution. Pray: Lord, thank you that I can come boldly to your throne of grace. Make me sensitive to the needs of others, and let me seek your loving support through the gift of prayer.