Aftermath: knowing what you can not change

I entered my bank this afternoon and was greeted by a very friendly teller with a great smile: “How are you today?”


“I like the way you said that!” she said.  “‘Excellent!’–all confident like that!”  She smiled before turning away toward her station.

“God’s in charge.  Is there any other way to be?”

She stopped, turned around and came back to the counter.  “You know, I needed to hear that today!  God is in charge.  You can’t change the other person, can you?…(she seemed to be thinking about something in particular)… But God is in charge, isn’t He?”

I looked back at her and said, “No, you can’t change the other person, but you can know that God has a plan and–no matter what else happens–He says the plan is for our good.  He loves you and He has a plan and it’s for your good.”

We completed our business and I headed out the door.  I love it when God lets me in on His plan to minister to people I meet during the day.

Two hours later, I was standing in the check out line and my eyes found the TV screen up front streaming pictures of a chaotic scene in Boston, Massachusetts.  Two bombs had just gone off near the finish line of the Boston marathon and, far from being the ‘happiest day in Boston’, the scene was raw and ugly.  I saw faces filled with fear and uncertainty, determination and a desire to help where needed.

I found the news channel on my truck radio on the way home and I listened as the reporters tried to make sense out of all the massive amount of conflicting reports that streamed into them in the wake of the violence.  It was obvious that so much was missing, so much was unknown. 

Here’s what I knew then…and what I still know now:

  • They didn’t know everything.  They still don’t.  It’s going to take time to find out all that we need to know about this situation.
  • Some of what we need to find out about this situation isn’t about the people in Boston…it’s about us…wherever we live.  Finding out how we will react, respond and how we resume our lives in the aftermath of such waste and destruction, such malevolence and lack of regard for human life will take time.  It will take courage.  It will take faith.
  • You can’t change the other person.  You can’t change the one that is filled with hate or fighting mental illness, the one on a personal ‘holy war’ or the one finally responding to years of abuses–real or imagined, the one who just decided they want to be famous, thinks they’re in a movie or the one who just doesn’t value life any more. 
  • You can change yourself.  You can choose to be a beacon of hope even in the darkness, because–honestly?–that’s where we need them the most.
  • Hope comes from God.  You can’t give what you don’t possess.  Look to Him for answers…they may surprise you, even in this.
  • God is still in control.  Don’t ever think otherwise–not even for a second. 
  • God still has a plan…and it’s for our good. 
  • We need to follow that plan now…more than ever.

Grace & Peace…to all of us…and especially to those personally affected by the events in Boston.



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