July 4 is drawing to a close and a severe thunderstorm has rolled in. The dog is a little concerned and is curled up in my office as I begin typing this post.
It’s a rather fitting image of the state of our country. Not 20 minutes away from my house a man has shot over 20 people today, killing some, during an Independence Day parade. The silent shock and following gloom was palpable all day in the North Shore region.
In a grim twist of irony, the killer’s father recently liked a social media post about protecting our 2nd Amendment rights “like your life depends on it”.
I’m imagining that this storm is finally washing away the remaining blood on the pavements in Highland Park. The street in my neighborhood looks like a river and my wife mentions that this kind of storm feels “cleansing”.
My mind immediately returns to another cleansing storm in August 2020. A Chicago man posted deliberately false information to incite a riot and succeeded. My neighborhood became a war zone overnight. Thankfully in this case there was no loss of life.
My wife and I woke up to businesses and the bank on our block being destroyed for no other reason than a pretense.
The following afternoon, a derecho pounded its way through Chicago, cleansing the dirty streets and sending the remaining rioters running for shelter.
Recent times have been a chaotic mix for me, emotionally speaking. I’m beyond thankful for my wonderful and supportive wife. I’m thrilled every day to work in a place where I’m proud of the things I get to build. I also consider myself among the very fortunate who did not suffer from the financial or health effects of the pandemic, and was consequently able to render some degree of aid to those who were in need. I have very much to be thankful for.
And yet, I am also grieved by the amount of lawlessness and death happening both within and without my circles of personal interaction.
Tonight was something of a breaking point for me. I found out that someone who used to be a close friend had been accused of a murder most vicious and is now imprisoned for their alleged crime. Once the breathtaking shock wore off, a persistent feeling of heaviness made itself evident.
I don’t believe it was this individual news alone that brought about the sense of heaviness, but rather the combination of heavy topics being confronted daily. Discussing nuclear fallout preparedness with my wife for the first time, a discussion I thought I would never need to have, was another weighty moment for me as tears streamed down my wife’s face. Yet another weighty moment was when a friend from church, who had apparently spent last Christmas alone, rapidly deteriorated in health and died last month before any of us had a chance to see him one last time due to COVID restrictions at the hospital. The list goes on.
I felt like this increasing weight was becoming harder to bear.
Then, like a whisper, the words came to mind:
“But the Lord is faithful”
I open the BibleGateway website and, sure enough, it was from this scripture:
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. Butthe Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-3, ESV
While I’m certainly not a first-century Apostle, I can testify without a doubt that it is the Lord who has gotten me this far and has been faithful beyond anything I deserve.
Many of you carry much heavier emotional burdens, and I cannot even begin to imagine how that must feel, but I know someone who does.
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:25-27, ESV
Regardless of how I feel and why I feel that way, I will place my trust in Him even as the first-century Apostles had faith when asking for intercessory prayer of deliverance from wicked and evil men.
Some months ago I decided to retire my 2-year-old blog. At first I thought it would be temporary, and then two things happened: 1) I accidentally let my domain name lapse, and 2) I needed a break. I kept a backup, but wasn’t inclined to bring anything back.
Since then, my wife bought me this new domain name.
I’ve decided to make this new blog an eclectic collection of all my writings and favorite photographs going forward. Hope some of you enjoy it!