As you may remember, after the tsunami in Japan, I wrote a blog about ways to supply aid to the Japanese (incidently, your help is still needed; the Japanese have a long road ahead of them). Then came the tornadoes in Alabama and Joplin, flooding along the Mississippi; it felt like a seeming endless stretch of destruction and need. Last weeks events felt like the straw that broke the camel's back: what can we do to prevent such tragedy?
I was immediately brainstorming relief efforts for Oslo and then it occurred to me. The Norwegians need prayer. Endless and unceasing prayer. Prayer for healing from such unexpected tragedies, prayer for the families of the dead, prayer to continue life, prayer not exactly for understanding, but for some sense of developing closure.
Prayer for the stunned family of Anders Behring Breivik as they struggle with his actions and for the man himself, so convicted in his beliefs that he went to atrocious lengths. And for forgiveness; remember, even Jesus forgave the robber on the cross, who now sits with him in heaven.
Shower the country of Norway and all those affected with unceasing prayer. Pray fervently so that they may feel your love and compassion. Pray with conviction so that God may grant miracles unto them. Pray that the Norwegians receive the healing that they need.
In my mind, there really is no distinction between tragedy in Oslo and an uncontrollable addiction that takes the life of an amazing talent. The thing with Amy Winehouse is that we all know someone, either a relative or acquaintance, who has so much to give, such genius or talent, but has been taken by addiction. An addiction that has such a grip on them that it may never let go. And addiction that may claim them.
People scoff and say "It was all her fault. She should have gotten clean. She knew how bad off she was." She tried to get clean. Or at least appeared to. I know addicts, people who are kind, generous people but have been possessed, it seems, by their drug. They'd love to be clean, but they can't break free. And so their life becomes a cycle of rehab and relapse, until the end comes.
When Tim was in the grips of addiction, all I knew to do was pray. The helplessness that I felt for him and for my ability to do anything was overwhelming. I fought with God. I told him how much I hated what he was doing to us. But it was all a prayer, and God was listening. While it wont happen with everyone, Tim has been sober for five years. I praise God for that.
So pray for those wracked with addictions, no matter what they are: drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, they all can take a person. Pray for their families, who so much want to help and get back the person they once knew, but nothing seems to work. Pray that God will make a mighty change in the lives of all addicts to loosen the stronghold that addiction has over them. Be their prayer when they feel too helpless to pray. Pray that they will feel love and compassion, not hate and rejection. That help will come to them and they will Change, fundamentally, to their very depths, so that they can become the person whom God made them to be.
Pray without ceasing. We Must Pray