Violence and Strife in Our Cities
“I see violence and strife in the city. Destructive forces are at work in the city” (Psalm 55:9, 11).
There is flagrant violence and strife in our cities today. One needs only to watch or read the daily news reports. It’s horrifying, and at the same time, should cause us to fall on our knees in prayer to our God. The violence reminds me of cancer, a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.
Fifty-one years ago, I fell in love with a cute Lake Tejas lifeguard. Sweet as can be and gorgeously tanned, he captured my fifteen-year-old heart and would not let it go. Gene and I have been married forty-eight years now. He is no longer tan but still sweet and gorgeous! However, we have recently learned how brutal the sun can be confirmed by skin cancers popping up so many years later demanding his attention. His dermatologist blames it on excessive sun exposure. The damage was done long ago, and the only cure is complete removal of the dangerous cells.
The violence and destruction on our city streets today are not sun damage but rather evidence of sin damage, pain, and brokenness – a heart issue. Sin and hurt inside eventually find their expression on the outside, bursting forth in ugliness. These people need the Savior and Great Physician, Jesus Christ, who forgives and removes sin. He’s the only One who can, and He’s the only One who can heal the pain of a broken and damaged heart. Do they know this? Have they been told? Have we prayed that each one will encounter Jesus in all His saving love and healing power? I, for one, must pray more and love them like Jesus loves them. We must remember that every single person matters to God, and He is not willing that anyone should perish.
The God we know and serve is so much bigger than the spreading cancer of sin, the Coronavirus, an imploding economy, and national mayhem. We all agree we desperately need a sovereign move of God’s Spirit across our land.
“But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked” (Psalm 106:30). Remember Phinehas from Numbers 25? Without going into the gruesome details, I’ll just say this. We need more Christ followers burning with the zeal of Phinehas for God’s holiness to hit our knees in intercessory prayer. “Phinehas…has turned my anger away…since he was as zealous for my honor among them as I am” (v. 11). Our nation is engulfed in major spiritual warfare for the soul of America. It is only by prayer and God’s Spirit that the victory is won (2 Chron. 7:14 and Zech. 4:6).
Those who instigate violence and strife in our cities need the reality of these prayerful words found in Psalm 25:16-18 in the same way you and I have come to know: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.”
More than anything else, our nation needs Jesus, and the church needs to be His Church, leading people to the Savior. Make wherever you are today a house of worship and intercession.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do” (Psalm 33:12-15).
“Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land” (Psalm 85:9).