We sit speechless in light of the recent attacks in Oslo, Norway, and nearby Utoya island. The Norwegian people and the world wonder how Anders Behring Breivik, an Oslo native, could possibly have planned such a horrible “demonstration” in which 93 people are now dead. “It is so unfair,” said Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. “You should know we are crying with you. We feel for you.” (Wall Street Journal, July 25th, pg. A6)
Where does a country turn in the face of such atrocity? Jesus of Nazareth has revealed to us that God is a God who not only says he is “crying with you” (John 11:35). He is God who suffers death unjustly at the hands of those full of hatred. He actually humbles himself, and subjects himself to the murderous, twisted ideologies of those he has come to save. And in dying, and being raised to life, has paradoxically conquered hatred with love, swallowed up the pain of death, and promises that all things will be made right.
This event makes us long for the justice of God, knowing that our world is still wrong, that things are not as they should be. We long for a new way of life, hope and peace. And as Christians, we can pray for the people of Norway in this way:
1. We must “weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15), as Jesus did at the tomb of Lazarus, and feel the weight and pain of evil with the Norwegian people.
2. We must pray that Jesus would be sought and found by the Norwegian people, realizing the comfort that comes in knowing Jesus as their comforting Shepherd for today.
3. We must pray that our hope for a new day for Norway and a new world for us is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the prophet Isaiah says, “Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.” (Isaiah 60:18 ESV, emphasis mine). We look forward to the day when our God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:4–5 ESV)
Our prayers are with Norway…
Pastor Dan Wilson
July 25, 2011