In the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, pastor and author Max Lucado is urging the U.S. to "welcome Jesus into the midst of this turbulent time" instead of responding with fear and anger.
After two shootings over the weekend left at least 29 dead and dozens of others wounded, the San Antonio pastor and best-selling author noted that many are responding to this "dark season of bloodshed" with anger and fear.
"Anger is the choice of many. Anger at politicians. Anger at the NRA. Anger at God. We become bitter and sour toward this world; toward one another," Lucado wrote in an op-ed for Fox News. "Fear is another option. Lock the doors and close the windows. Avoid every shadow and dark alley."
But the Bible offers direction on how to respond amid storms, the pastor contended. He pointed to John 6, where Jesus walked on the water to join His disciples in their boat in the middle of a terrifying storm. Amid the disciples' fear and anxiety, Jesus said to them: "It is I; don't be afraid." (John 6:19- 20).
"The literal translation of what Jesus said is 'I AM; don't be afraid,'" Lucado explained. "I AM is God's name. If God had a calling card, it would contain this imprint: I AM."
"This is the title of steadiness and power. When we wonder if God is coming, he answers with his name: 'I AM!' When we wonder if he is able, he declares, 'I AM.' When we see nothing but darkness, feel nothing but doubt, and wonder if God is near or aware, the welcome answer from Jesus is this: 'I AM!'"
Lucado advised readers to "pause and invite God to tell us his name."
"Our greatest need is his presence. Yes, we want this storm to pass. Yes, we want the winds to still. But yes, yes, yes, we want to know, need to know, and must know that the great I AM is coming," he wrote.
The pastor pointed out that when the disciples invited Christ into their boat, they reached their destination.
"Let's follow the example of the disciples. Welcome Jesus into the midst of this turbulent time," he concluded. "Don't let the storm turn you inward. Let it turn you upward. Listen and see if you don't hear him say: I AM with you in the storm."
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