At a Loss for Words
When I made my profession of faith, which is like confirmation, the pastor presented me with a Bible with a verse highlighted especially for me. My verse was from Romans: “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans” (8:26, The Message). To be honest, I didn’t like the verse. I wanted a verse about “moving mountains” and “nothing is impossible for me.” I wanted to be reminded that I would “renew my strength and soar on wings like eagles.” But this was my special verse. A measly text about God helping me pray.
O how I have needed this verse over the years, especially this morning! Like you, I awoke to the news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. At first they reported twenty were killed and two hundred were injured. Quickly the number rose to fifty-eight dead and over five hundred injured—and the numbers still appear to be climbing. I think we are all shocked that this could happen, grieved because of the senseless loss of life, and scared that we are also vulnerable to such an attack. On top of that, our hearts were already heavy from the damage done by the hurricanes and earthquakes. We woke up ready to learn the latest about the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands… and now this?!
This is when I remember the verse my pastor gave me. All I can muster in my prayers are silence, sighs and groans, and I trust that the Spirit is “praying in and for me.” I also remember that prayer is not an ending, as if we can move on in the same way after we pray. Prayer is just the beginning. It is risky act because through prayer God may move us to sacrifice or effect change so we can respond to the suffering around us. So today I pray with silence and sighs, knowing that it is only the beginning. Thank you Pastor Wayne for making this my special verse.