Originally published on April 18, 2013

Heavy - that's how I feel today.  And for once, this body weight obsessed fitness instructor is not talking about how my clothes fit or what the number on the scale shows.  It's my heart that's heavy.  I can hardly wrap my mind - much less my heart - around the events in the news this week.  Bombs exploding on unsuspecting athletes and spectators at one of our country's most renowned competitions.  Poisoned letters sent to the President and other politicians in DC.  A pregnant woman shot and killed before the perpetrator lead the police on a high speed chase.  And now a devastating explosion in the town of West, Texas.  And this one hits close to home.  Literally.  I grew up in Elm Mott.  Unless you grew up with me, you haven't heard of it - unless you went to Baylor.  Then you know it as the home office of the Noze Brotherhood.  If you blink on your drive down I-35, you will miss Elm Mott, but it is just a few minutes in the car from West.  I had many friends who lived in West.  I had many crushes who lived in West and would cruise the drag there with my best friend hoping for a glimpe of my current infatuation.  We never saw too much action, but it was great time to talk as we slowly drove down through that small, quiet town.  
I am so sad for this tight-knit community, so steeped in tradition.  And I grieve with those of Boston.  A day that was supposed to be a celebration of athleticism and acheivement turned tragic and ugly.  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  Eph. 6:12  There is so much wickedness around us, and it is so hard for us to understand because even though it is IN the world, it is not OF the world.  Which leads many people to ask questions about God.  So many of us don't even think of God until something bad happens.  But thankfully, graciously, lovingly, He is still there when we finally do turn to Him.  But where is "there" (meaning where is God) in these horrific events?  Romans 8:28 tells us, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those wo love God to those who are called according to His purpose."  That can be a difficult verse to hear when you are hurting.  When you don't understand.  When you wonder why bad things happen to good people.  What good can possibly come from terrorist activity and mass destruction?  I was reminded this week that the word "TOGETHER" is a pretty important one in this popular verse.  The Bible doesn't promise that good will come out of every single thing that happens to you.  He promises to knit the happenings in your life - the good, the bad, and the ugly - TOGETHER to make something beautiful.  While we may only see the chaos and feel the pain of what has just happened, God can see the big picture.  He knows how it will strengthen you, inspire you or change you.  He knows how the story ends.  And He lets us in on some of it in His word.  I don't know what tomorrow holds.  And if you are suffering, I can't tell you how it is that you will continue to put one foot in front of the other.  But here is what I do know "Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."  2 Corinthians 4:16  And I know that when all is said and done, death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54).  The dark forces will be defeated - unable to touch us any longer.  And, "for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith."  So today may be a sad day, but I already see good coming from tragedy.  I see neighbors lending aid.  I see unselfishness and compassion.  I see determination to move forward.  These are the rays of God's love that are already piercing through this darkness by way of His people.  I'm praying for Boston.  And I'm praying for West - that although we mourn through this season of night, joy will come in the morning