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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Hang In There!

Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

“Just hang in there!”

We’ve heard it. More than likely, we’ve spoken those words! They flow freely from our lips – especially when we recognize we don’t have answers. This expression is a gesture of encouragement to those who struggle.

We mean well. We want to inspire others when they are challenged. We desire to let them know we care. We’re sincere. However, even the best-intended words have a way of being heard as platitudes.

A buzz of well-intended messages has resurfaced — once again — after the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

“Our prayers are with the victims and citizens of these communities.” “We need your action, not your prayers.” “Guns do not kill people; people kill people.” “It’s time for Congress to do something,” etc.

Depending on your conviction, one or all of these messages may be valid and sincere. But with the increased gun violence we are experiencing in our nation, these messages can sound like a repetitious recording!

Like elevator music: The message of these well-meaning phrases become lost in numbing background noise.

I get it. I understand.

It’s easy to offer phrases assuring victims and citizens of communities that we are “praying” for them. It’s also a valid plea that we back our prayers with action! It’s frustrating for citizens of this nation to see political divisiveness prevent our representatives from addressing significant issues!

Are you as tired as I am of the never-ceasing bickering between politicians — on both sides of the aisle?

I too am outraged that these horrific acts of evil continue to happen!

However, effort or legislation alone cannot transform an evil heart. Only God can perform that feat!

Don’t misunderstand me.

I will continue to advocate for responsible action to do all we can to minimize — and hopefully — prevent such atrocities from happening in the future.

Additionally, I will continue to be a proponent that calls us back to God.

Here’s why.

There is an abundance of fear, anger, resentment, and distrust in our world. It appears that peace is in short supply today! And, “true and lasting peace” is only discovered in God! Isaiah reminds us:

“Those of steadfast mind, you [God] keep in peace— in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for, in the Lord God, you have an everlasting rock.[1]”

A “steadfast mind” is focused: Always aware of the source of peace, which is discovered in God alone.

Paul, the apostle, reinforces Isaiah’s conviction: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.[2]

It’s tempting to misconstrue sincere expressions of prayer as nothing more than platitudes. However, I, for one, believe there is value in prayer!

For those who pray for the victims and citizens of El Paso and Dayton; THANK YOU! For those who desire action with prayer; THANK YOU! For all who pray for those who have leadership over us (our President, Congressmen and women, Senators, Governors, and State legislature members), THANK YOU!

And, by chance, if your “peace” is disturbed today, I pray you will remember that turning to God is not a meaningless action!

It’s the only reliable way we can “hang in there!”


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Is 26:3–4.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Php 4:7.

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