“Be strong and of a good courage.”

Studying Come, Follow Me this week in the wake of community tragedy, I found myself looking specifically for comfort.

The lesson begins with the Israelites feeling weak and fearful, but the Lord said, “Be strong and of a good courage.” Why should they have felt this way? Why should any of us in the face of evil like we’ve seen? The lesson answers, “Not because of their own strength—but because “the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

If we believe that, then Christ was in that classroom in Texas. He will be there for the parents, grandparents, friends, cousins, all those left with grief. He will be there for you and me.

t’s not an empty platitude. His peace is real.

Among the disheartening posts making social media rounds this week is the idea that prayer is pointless. Although it’s true “faith without works is dead” I’ve come to know there is nothing more powerful than prayer in grieving and trying to make sense of the senseless.

We are not strong enough, or courageous enough to make sense of this on our own. We need a God. We need to know in the end all wrongs will be made right, justice will be served and families can be together forever. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” we are reminded that “the divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.”

Joshua’s final testimony to the Israelites called on them to “Choose you this day whom you shall serve.” In looking for comfort, answers and hope—more God, more prayer, more faith is what we need.

“ … for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.” (Joshua 7:13)

Whatever we might individually believe the “accursed thing in our midst to be” we can’t abandon prayer as a way to get there.

art: Morgan Weistling

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