tenderhearted in turmoil

I’m not going to comment directly on the events of the last 24 hours—much has been written, some very good, and some unhelpful at best. I don’t have a direct connection with anyone from the events yesterday. But in a way, I have much in common with them. Today I look at myself, my heart, my vulnerability. I have no answers apart from my Savior— everything else fails.

Shock, numb, angered, frustrated, and yes, even fearful. That may surprise some; after all, can Christians be fearful? Life is fragile; yesterday’s event could have involved my son or daughter-in-law, or grandkids.

As I experience all this, I find that my heart is tender—to all that can happen and does happen. My heart goes out to all the families who lost loved ones. As the hours have passed, I realize that my primary sense is one of tenderheartedness. My heart is tender right now; I’m emotional—for them. The media may drift off after a few days to another topic, but that won’t happen for these people. We will hear stories of heroism (like Victoria, the teacher who protected many children, but died in the process) and give thanks—and still grieve.

My heart also is tender for the care-givers. That part has really only begun. They need strength, encouragement, support, an outlet. Well done to all who came alongside the hurting. God’s blessings to them as they continue.

While we as a group of people grieve for all who suffer because of this, I also realize that grief is personal. And yet, there is a shared-ness of grief that is critical. In Psalm 34:18 we read:

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

God is not indifferent to those who are crushed in spirit. It may not seem like it for some right now. But I cling to what my God has said and demonstrated.

In Isaiah 53:4 we read:

He certainly has taken upon himself our suffering and carried our sorrows,

God is not indifferent to suffering, to our suffering, to our sorrows, our pains, our heartaches. His Servant, His Son, Jesus, shared in that suffering and sorrows. He even took them upon himself. In the process He truly understands the burdens, the heartache, the agony. And thus, Jesus is the premier person who is tenderhearted.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, this is where I come to being tenderhearted at this moment. And I realize I have to also guard my heart, guard what I say, guard what I think. This does not mean I am indifferent, rather the opposite. I know what I have experienced in the past and how that shapes me, how that has brought me to brokenness, failure, disappointment, despair. But I know the God who was there when it seemed like I was alone, abandoned, in agony.

My tenderheartedness is entirely through God’s grace. Today I need that most of all. Maybe you do as well? Tomorrow I will hear God’s Word spoken to me, I receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ, who in tenderheartedness died that I might live. I pray in response to that kind of God, who loves, who is tenderhearted, who surrounds me with love when I most desperately need it. There is my hope, my strength, and my life.


Author: exegete77

disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, teacher, and theologian

One thought on “tenderhearted in turmoil”

  1. I received the following Email from LCMS District President, Russ Sommerfeld today, and I felt it was worth sharing.

    –Dan Schroeder

    Dear Brothers in Christ,

    Greetings in Christ, who is the One True Hope in all circumstances!

    Please forward this e-mail to the pastors in your circuit. Thank you for your prayers for the families of those traumatized and killed in Newtown, Connecticut, for the entire town, for Christ the King Lutheran Church and Pastor Rob Morris, and for all those suddenly confronted with this horror of violence and grief. Even though we know that our dear Lord Jesus hears the anguished cries of the grieving and will heal their broken hearts, this senseless and violent tragedy leaves us numb and shocked.

    Communication has been received from New England District – LCMS President Tim Yeadon, and Synodical President Matthew Harrison. A prayer vigil was held at Christ the King last night. It appears that one of their newest members, a young girl, was killed. And the grandchildren of the former pastor, Greg Wismar, were at the school. One of them, a young boy named Matthew, escaped by avoiding a bullet intended for him.

    The Chaplain of the LCMS International Center, Rev. William Weedon, has offered a prayer resource which is below.

    Rachel weeping … Jeremiah 31 – a Prayer for Advent III

    O Friend of little children, hear our prayer this day for all who are devastated by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    To Your merciful keeping we commit all who have died; for in You there is a life that death cannot destroy.

    To Your kind embrace we especially commend the parents and families of those children whose voices are now stilled; hold them in Your loving arms.

    Remember the injured and grant them, according to Your kind will, healing and restoration.

    Remember all who have been traumatized by what they witnessed, the students and the teachers and the staff, all whose world has been shattered; comfort them in the midst of tears.

    Remember the injured and grant them, according to Your kind will, healing and restoration.

    Remember all who have been traumatized by what they witnessed, the students and the teachers and the staff, all whose world has been shattered; comfort them in the midst of tears.

    Remember the police and medical workers and all who seek to bring order after chaos; help them to serve in this dark hour with courage and wisdom and compassion.

    Remember the community of Newtown which will never be the same again; bring to it the peace that can come alone from You.

    O Mighty One, we know that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but that You have come that we might have life and have it abundantly. Help your Church at this time to shine the light of Your compassion and truth into the darkness and despair. Help Your people to proclaim, even with tears, that hatred and death will not be the end of this world; for You will come to bring a Kingdom of light and joy and peace. Make us witnesses to this great hope and in the certainty of Your kingdom’s triumph to bind the wounds of this world with tenderness and care. We ask it in Your name, who knew in Your own flesh unreasoned violence and hatred, and whose Love has triumphed over all. Amen.

    Russ Sommerfeld

    President Nebraska District – LCMS

    PO Box 407

    Seward, NE 68434-0407

    Office Phone: 888-643-2961 Ext 1004

    Cell Phone: 402-641-0333

    Fax: 402-643-2990



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