EDITORIAL: Responding to a rising tide of need
It’s prayer request time.
If you’ve ever taken part in a small-group Bible study, you’re familiar with the process. At the conclusion of the lesson, one member of the group searches for a piece of paper and a pen. Then the requests come — in a trickle that soon becomes a cascade.
We relate stories of family and friends in the hospital, on a transplant list, battling a recurrence of cancer, unable to get well, nearly out of money, not sure how they’ll make ends meet.
It’seasy to get overwhelmed by the amount of need — spiritual and financial — onour prayer lists. It’s not that we question how a good God can allow so muchsuffering. We know that we live in a fallen world, and we understand thatphysical hardship is part of life. (See Bailey McBride’s Insight forthoughts on dealing with spiritual doubt.)
Wewant to show Christ’s love to those who are sick, but with a page full ofprayer requests — a seemingly unending sea of suffering — where do we begin?
Imaginehow we feel at The Christian Chronicle. As an international newspaper forChurches of Christ, we receive requests for prayers and financial support fromaround the globe. The world’s current economic woes have increased thoserequests.
Wecould share countless stories:
• Amission team to El Salvador encountered a 1-year-old boy with a heart defect.He needs surgery in the U.S. to live. (Find out more about this need at helpforedisson.org.)
• Achurch member in the southwestern U.S. went into kidney failure just as he wasdropped from his health insurance for reasons out of his control.
• Ayoung Christian mother with multiple sclerosis could receive surgery — onlyavailable in another country — that will vastly improve her life. The treatmentis experimental and expensive.
Inaddition to these health-related requests, we also receive countless appealsfor financial support from ministries and missionaries worldwide.
Wedo our best to report these stories, but we simply don’t have the resources tofit all of them into our pages.
Wehumbly request that Christians use online resources, including Facebook andCaringbridge.org. Both provide the means of informing and updating thousands ofChristians about specific needs. Please send us links to these pages.
Unfortunately,our fallen world has dishonest people who prey on the goodness of others. Werecommend that when funds are requested for a medical need they be collectedthrough a sponsoring congregation and not sent directly to an individual.
Churchesshould take responsibility for verifying the authenticity of the needs aroundthem.
Lookingat our global prayer list, we hope that our inability to solve all of theworld’s problems will not keep us from serving those we can.
Aswe ponder the best way to bring more of these requests to light, we ask God forwisdom, patience and the spirit of endurance professed by Paul in Romans 8:18:“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glorythat will be revealed in us.”
FeedbackA year or so ago CC had a article concerning the subject of abuse. The main person in the article was quoted as saying “sometimes it takes more than an ‘I’m praying for you and a pat on the back.” It occurred to me if you believe prayer is effective, how could anything take more than an “I’m praying for you?” I suggest folks think about their prayers and specifically what they expect and then see if they have support for such exportations.
IJohn Jenkinsn/aGatlinburg, TN
USAJuly, 17 2012