About one year after 21-year-old Dylann Roof killed nine black church members in a church in Charleston, S.C., we encountered another month of death, tragedy, and heartache in this nation.
On Tuesday morning, July 5, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was fatally shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The very next day, Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, was shot by an officer in Minnesota.
Videos of both shootings immediately went viral, as did emotional responses all over social media.
One day later, on Thursday, July 8, five police officers were targeted and fatally shot, while seven others were wounded when a sniper opened fire in downtown Dallas. On that day, we lost officers, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith.
Nine days later, three police officers, Montrell Jackson, Brad Garafola and Matthew Gerald, were shot and killed in Baton Rouge.
In the midst of all of the violence and confusion and anger and racial tension and cries for justice and mourning and broken hearts, many have gone to news outlets and social media to find a voice while simultaneously seeking an answer.
CNN did the same, publishing an article with the headline: “Who Can Heal America?”
Underneath the headline, three pictures were printed: pictures of President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump, suggesting that these are three of our strongest options for this needed healing.
CNN asked the right question, but gave the wrong answer.
“Who Can Heal America?” is the right question. In the midst of terrorism and racism and needless death and murder, we need to seek healing for this nation. We need healing for the hurting hearts, the sinful hearts, the broken hearts. However, I don’t believe President Obama, Clinton, or Trump are poised to usher in this season of healing.
IN NEED OF HEALING
We need better options for this sort of healing. We need someone who can do more than legislate. Someone who can do more than pass a law or give a speech. We need transformative change. We need heart change. We need revival. And there isn’t a politician on the planet who can meet these deep needs.
In short, we need Jesus. He’s the one, the only one who can Heal this Nation! And the good news is, Jesus is here now. He is not far off. He is not hiding. We can know Him. We can cry out to Him, and He will hear us.
As Psalm 147:3 reminds us, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” What a timely promise!
We find this healing in Jesus by seeking Him in prayer as we pray for the nation. We pray for justice. We pray for deliverance from the bondage of racism and stereotypes. We pray for peace to overwhelm our anger and for joy to infiltrate our depression. We ask for wisdom as we engage in dialogue and loving conversations with our neighbors, and we ask for unity among the nations that make up the Body of Christ. We pray for the families who have lost loved ones in this most recent string of shootings, and we pray for our cities plagued by the darkness of sin, as we seek opportunities to serve and love as light of this world.
Surely we have all seen by now that our nation is broken, our hearts are sinful, and healing is needed. So once more we ask…
“Who Can Heal America”?
Great question. Let us not settle for weak answers!
Jonathan Williams is the founder of Gospel Family Ministries. He is also the author of Gospel Family. Jonathan enjoys this ministry alongside his wife, Jessica, and their three children, Gracie, Silas & Elijah. With a heart for families and the church, Jonathan also serves as the pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas.