I have been thinking of this phrase so much in light of the shooting that took place in South Florida on Valentine's Day. Thoughts and Prayers. My faith is so important to me. I believe in God. I believe in prayer. And as a response to the mass school shooting, this phrase is being dragged through the mud. For good reason. I've been thinking of this passage of scripture:
How many times have I told someone that I would pray for them and then forgotten to keep it in prayer, and forgotten to follow up to see how they're doing? To show that I care? The answer is: too many. How many times have I offered a hand to help, to take action and bring some relief for someone I know in a hard situation? How many times have I offered to make a meal, or cover a needed expense? The answer is: not many. I think people are tired of hearing that they are in someone's "thoughts and prayers" and not seeing any action to back that up. It's convicting, isn't it? When I tell someone that I am thinking of them and praying for them, I want them to know that I care about them, that I will follow up and try to help wherever I can.
I know after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, I felt the same frustration. Yes, pray... but DO more. Send money, send supplies, send electricians! To this day, the island is still struggling to get infrastructure in place, including electricity. People struggle with feeling forgotten, an increase in mental health issues has arisen, as well as suicides. It's so disheartening, especially in light of the fact that Hurricane Season starts back up in May!
How could we not feel that more must be done in light of the shootings as well?
I will continue to pray, because I do believe that it can make a difference. I witnessed it first hand after Lucie was born extremely premature at 24 weeks weighing a whopping 1lb, 11oz. Yes, she was cared for at a top notch hospital in New York City by amazing nurses and doctors. So I am not discounting that in any way whatsoever. I just also know that SO MANY people were lifting her life up in prayer, AND spent time caring for us in practical, tangible ways. When Lucie was about two weeks old, we found out that she had bilateral grade 3 and grade 4 brain bleeds, I couldn't sleep at all that night, so in the middle of the night I got on my knees and prayed. I prayed that if it be God's will, that He would completely heal her and that she would not need medical intervention like a shunt. And that if she did, that He would strengthen us all. And those brain bleeds completely resolved on their own without any medical intervention. Thank God. I know it was not a coincidence that she was born in New York City, too. Up until just before she was born, we tried to move back to FL every spring when teaching/ coaching jobs typically post, and every year, the doors remained firmly closed. THANK GOD we live in NYC! It's about prayer, faith, AND Action.
Just after the shooting, I read this passage from one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speeches. I agree whole heartedly.
I also really liked this practical article on how to help Florida school shooting victims.