“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).

Author Rosemary Budd says, “God’s goodness is not an absence of badness, but it is like a fire.” When we feel overwhelmed about the evil and tragedy in every part of our suffering world, we know that our Father not only weeps with those who weep, He acts! His compassion, holiness, and love enter the terrible emptiness of the fallen creation. God made the ultimate sacrifice of sending His Son to redeem the world. As we watch the news and hear of all the heartache around us—and perhaps in our own lives—it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. Yet, we know that the Lord is watching and listening. He partners with us in bringing His grace to bear. As we pray, He enables us to endure, to listen, to act. Mother Teresa was asked how she coped, since her ministry in India for the dying accomplished relatively little amid the oceans of needs. She said her questioner was not using the right math. Mother Teresa used the math of subtraction—if you can’t help a hundred people, help one. When we feel overwhelmed, we can think, like Mother Teresa, of what we can do in the name of Christ, not think of what isn’t done. Do we align ourselves with God’s love that “is like a fire”? Do we have faith that He is at work and that we can be part of what He is doing? Rosemary Budd says, “As we come to the God of Justice in prayer, our world grows bigger. God’s goodness always journeys out to overcome evil. He is very alive and purposeful. God creates and recreates, restores and woos and empowers.”

Adapted from “The One Year Book of Encouragement”