Life is Fragile…Handle with Prayer by Betty Mason Arthurs
A ceramic plaque on my refrigerator has this above quote. How can anyone deny that life is fragile?
One day your beloved family member can be diagnosed with cancer and faces surgery and months of follow-up treatment. Your rambunctious boy jumps out of a tree and fractures a leg. You’re grateful he didn’t fall on his head, even if it means your time is consumed with his care. Sometimes if you were to write down all the prayer needs in your family, you could fill a thousand journals. And then there are the needs of the world to fill another thousand books.
I sadly remember the Sandyhook shootings, Boston bombing, Tucson and Denver shootings, and now the Charleston shootings at a church Bible study. Didn’t we all pray for them? If you’re like me, your tears mingled with your prayers. In the flash of gun shots, precious people died.
Can we say, life is horrific, handle with prayer? Life is full of grief, handle with prayer?
Do we remember the scripture John 3:16? “God so loved the world?” He sent Jesus to die on a cross for all.”
It seems like for some, “life is bad, handle with hate.” However, didn’t the family of those killed at the AME church in Charleston teach us a better response? The grandson of 70 year-old Ethel Lance said, “Hate is powerful, but love is more powerful.” Rev. Goff said, “When sister Ethel Lance praised the Lord, you had to strap on your spiritual seatbelt.” In a close knit, church family, members often call one another brother and sister. Someone else said to the killer, “We have too much love in our family to allow hate to come in.”
When did I ever praise the Lord enough to warrant a seatbelt? It’s an astounding image and blessed comfort to her family remembering Ethel Lance as she praised her Lord. It comforts me.
The Bible in the book of John tells a story of the sisters, Mary and Martha, of Lazarus sending for Jesus and what was their message? “Lord, one you love is sick.” Their brother was in a bad way. Jesus, a dear friend, was their only hope for healing their brother and yet Lazarus died before the Healer got to their home. The scripture tells us they went to the tomb and, “Jesus wept.” Gut-wrenching grief gave way to celebration when the Giver of life himself shouted into that tomb, “Lazarus, come forth!” I imagine the dead man, still wrapped in his grave clothes which his friends tore off of him, shouted and danced for joy with his sisters.
When we hear or watch the news on TV each day we have an opportunity to care about others and act in love.
Can we pray into the fragility of life:
“Lord, one you love is sick…bring healing and comfort to those who suffer around the world.”
“Lord, one you love is missing on a hike.…”
“Lord, one you love has been shot….”
“Lord, one you love is with the Marines overseas….”
Yes, life is fragile and there are many times we will not understand the issues of pain, suffering and injustice in this life…only God knows. Psalm 91 says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…You shall not be afraid of the terror by night.…” We are not immune to danger, disease or disasters, but God promises security in the midst of them. In my family, we can say “amen” to that promise. Many times our family has felt God’s peace when loved ones have died, when physical health disappears in an attack by an insidious disease.
Your silent prayers uttered on tearstained pillows
were heard before they were said.
Your deepest questions were answered
before they were asked.
Life is fragile…handle with prayer.