My heart has been heavy the last few weeks. Tragedies, both near and far, seem to all be hitting at once. The outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa has hit close to home. Nancy Writebol, the nurse who contracted it while working in Liberia, is the mother of one of our pastor's. The last few weeks have been very difficult for the family and we, their church family, have been walking through it with them, feeling their pain and anxiety, their hope and despair, as they feel it. The cruel comments on social media have hurt because they're about people that I care about. Every time I see someone say "Why couldn't we leave those people in Africa?", all I can think is, "what if that was your mother? Or your spouse? Would you not do everything in your power to get them back here so they could have the very best medical care? Would you not move heaven and earth to get them to a hospital where they can get medical treatment and have a chance of surviving?" But most people are afraid and uninformed and they speak from ignorance and cruelty, not thinking to walk a mile in the victim's shoes.
We have been receiving heart breaking news from Iraq. The ISIS terrorist group is slaughtering men, women, and children, targeting Christians and other minority groups. People have fled to the mountains and the young and old, those most vulnerable to the elements, are dying. There's reports that parents have thrown their children off the mountian just so they don't have to see them die of thirst. That's too horrible for me to even comprehend. There are other reports of the terrorists beheading children or cutting them in half. Women are being brutalized and sold into slavery. Men are told to recant their faith or die... and many times, they die anyway.
And then the news of Robin Williams' suicide. This will, I'm afraid, cause a spike in suicide attempts as those who are suffering from depression follow in his footsteps. I'm not even going to attempt to write about depression because I've never experienced it nor am I trained to handle it. There are already far too many misinformed people spouting off about it. The only thing I'll say is: if you're suffering from depression, there is hope. Don't let yourself believe that suicide is your only option. Talk to someone and get some help.
As Christians, we're told to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Now is a time for weeping. Now is a time to get on our faces before the Lord and intercede for those who are suffering.