October 9, 2014
Hazael asked, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do tothe people of Israel; you will set their fortresses on fire, you will kill their young men with the sword, ash in pieces their little ones, and rip up their pregnant women.” 2 Kings 8:12 NRSV
We find ourselves shocked by the prophet Elisha’s words. How could anyone dash little ones into pieces? Hazael, a messenger from the king, heard these words when he asked Elisha about whether the king would recover from an illness. Although the king’s illness was not terminal, Elisha wept, for he knew Hazael would become the next king and do terrible things to children.
Like Elisha, you may find yourself weeping today for the innocent children who get caught in turmoil. In April, when over 200 Nigerian girls were taken from their school, the world wept. We longed to hear they were safe. Voices spoke up for their safe return, but the kidnappers demanded the return of militant prisoners in exchange for the girls. Innocent children became caught in political turmoil, and though some girls escaped, we continue to weep for those who remain missing. Just as Elisha wept for the little ones, we continue to weep for children caught in the world’s struggles.
God, may you protect the innocent children, keeping them out of harm’s way. When they become ensnared in the violence of the world, may we weep together, offering our tears as prayers of hope.
Rev. Dr. Douglas Cripe
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)