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Life is hard and dangerous. Reports of devastating hurricanes and now mass murder break our hearts. Disasters dominate national news while private catastrophes unfold around us.
A steady diet of bad news and trouble causes discouragement. Compassion fatigue desensitizes us to other’s pain. Even worse, we can start to feel helpless. Helplessness gives trouble the last word.
Give Love the Last Word
The smartest way to respond when trouble strikes is to give love the last word – not the kind of love we feel but the kind we do. Love trumps trouble. When heartbreaks come, we desperately need the antidote of love.
Love gets the last word when we do two things:
1. Breathe Love In
We breathe love in when we focus on the good around us. Think on what’s right when things go wrong (Phil 4:8). In these dark days we can remember the courageous, loving actions taken by first responders in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and Las Vegas. We can think about:
- The jet ski rescue, canoeing surgeon and the “when and where” bus-driver in Houston
- The Florida mail carrier who “saw and sawed” fallen trees to help the elderly
- The middle-school teacher who stood next to someone killed at the Las Vegas concert but went to work the next day so his students could have “some sense of normalcy”
- The young mother who donated a kidney to save a friend from dying
- The grieving family who donated their deceased daughter’s heart
Be sure to look for love in all the right places. (1 Cor 15:33). Look to God and His people, to those doing good things with their lives. Spend face time with real friends instead of surfing social media. Embrace uplifting forms of entertainment. Set limits on negative and emotionally unsafe people.
2. Breathe Love Out
God also wants us to breathe love out. In fact, His entire law converges in the command to love God, others and ourselves (Mt 22:36-40).
Every day brings an opportunity to love someone somewhere somehow. Love gets the last word when we:
- trust God even if we don’t understand our circumstances
- serve someone in need in a hands-on way
- spend time with someone who is hurting
- supply needed transportation
- support a worthwhile charity
- speak the truth in love
- address the “elephant in the living room” to make peace
- forgive a wrong
- accept the foibles and shortcomings of others
- recognize our personal worth
- affirm someone else’s worth
- speak encouraging words
Will you breathe out love today? When you put your head on your pillow tonight will you feel the joy that comes from having done something loving during the day? I hope so.
If you generally begin your day by asking for God’s protection and blessings, that’s fine. But tomorrow, try this prayer instead to bring your highest purpose into clear focus:
“Dear God, Thank You for supplying all my needs. Help me use what You have given me to love well. Let love have the last word in every situation I meet in the day ahead.”
The smartest way to respond to trouble is to breathe love in and out. When trouble brings us down, love buoys us up. Good overcomes evil (Rms 12:21). Fear not!