The Hurt And The Healer

Why? / the question that is never far away
But healing doesn’t come from the explained

Jesus,  please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have / all that remains

I’m alive / even though a part of me has died
Take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe /  sometimes I feel that’s all that I can do

Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord, take hold and pull me through

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty

When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of weakness we must bow
And hear You say, “It’s over now”

Jesus, come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

When the hurt and the healer collide

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San Bernardino is a beautiful southern California city with a population of some 215,000 souls.

Six days after the December 2nd  jihadist terrorist attack on innocent partygoers at the Inland Regional Center (RC) in San Bernardino. I traveled the  165 miles from Bakersfield to this city of some 215,000 souls, checked into my motel room and then unloaded the 60-pound, 10-foot cross from off the go-ye-mobile truck rack and began walking north on Waterman Avenue and toward the large IRC facility.

With the large cross resting on my left shoulder, I walked on the sidewalk and against the flow of traffic, waving and smiling at reach passing vehicle. This is my normal modis operandi, and it has served me well as I’ve walked the cross in some 130 California cities since 2006. From San Ysidro and the Mexican border crossing to San Francisco and the Bay area, response at seeing a now 68 year old street evangelist lugging a large cross on his shoulders and down a busy street has always been so much more positive than negative.

But I really didn’t know how the people of San Bernardino would respond this day.


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Every city I walk the cross at, I bring the large cross to each police station and pray for the safety of its thin blue line.

Five years earlier, I had walked the cross throughout downtown San Bernardino, along with Pasadena, Riverside and two other neighboring cities. But my real destination then was some forty miles away and the small city of Hemet, and especially its police station. My reason to walk the cross in Hemet was because of a short but serious news story I had read in our local paper.

After cracking down on outlaw motorcycle gangs that were engaged in all types of illegal and criminal activities, Hemet police officers became targets of reprisal, including the rerouting of a natural gas pipeline into the headquarters of the county’s gang task force in an attempt to blow up the building and the placement of a crude pipe bomb beneath an unmarked police vehicle as it sat outside a convenience store. Both attempts to kill and harm Hemet’s thin blue line failed, but the threats continued.

After arriving at Hemet, I walked the cross to the police station and, as is my normal method, I hoisted the 10-foot wooden crux upright and began praying loud and long, asking God to protect the city’s thin blue line by surrounding police officers with His thick blue line of angelic protectors. I also asked the God of justice to expose the culprits so they would be arrested.

One week later, Hemet police officers arrested the culprits, and the threat to their safety was totally quashed!



The names of the fourteen souls slain by the two jihad terrorists.

I thought of Hemet as I walked the cross toward the IRC, and how prayer really does work. Not only in Hemet, but in my hometown of Bakersfield, as well as so many of the other cities I had visited in a ten-year-period of cross walking. But how would the people of San Bernardino respond today after experiencing a totally unexpected terrorist attack on innocent civilians that had left fourteen dead and twenty-one wounded?

My concern was short-lived! As I traveled down the very busy street, car horns sounded, thumbs-up signs were displayed, and “Praise the Lord! shouts rang out loudly from smiling faces inside passing vehicles.

And what really got my attention was the number of people who were wearing long-sleeve tee-shirts that displayed a large arrow head (the symbol of San Bernardino County) with the words SB Strong printed inside the arrow head!

The message was already very clear, a message to all would-be terrorists as well as America and the rest of the world as well: “No force on Earth will keep us down! We are tough. We are San Bernardino Tough!”



Contrary to what these front-page headlines declare, God’s Word proclaims a vastly different viewpoint and reality.

Just minutes after the attack, people across America began to uphold in prayer the people of San Bernardino. And, of course, there were plenty of  naysayers and sarcastic individuals who declared that prayer and even God Himself couldn’t fix this problem.

But what I saw as I approached the taped-off crime scene was God’s praying and caring people in action, not only in providing physical help such as food, water and shelter to anyone and everyone, but also powerfully and sincerely praying for and with those who were visiting the large makeshift memorial just a few hundred feet from the actual crime scene.

Sure there were tears and great sorrow. Loved ones were now dead, and loved ones were in hospitals recovering from wounds suffered in the massacre. But what eventually came out as I talked with many of the people visiting the large makeshift memorial is that there were several Christians killed by the terrorists. And only God knows how many of the fourteen cried out to Jesus with their last breath!

The words I shared with so many sad and grieving individuals on this day are the very same words I have shared with people all across California who have lost loved ones: “You cannot really kill a Christian; you can only change his or her address!”  This is a royal truth among all Gospel truths!



The large makeshift memorial for the fourteen victims of the Inland Regional Center terrorist attack December 2nd.

Prayer does work! It doesn’t take away the truth that pain, sorrow and tragedy are very real, and very debilitating. But what prayer to the living God accomplishes is that it gets His undivided attention. And Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of life, sets out to not only come alongside those who are walking through the valley of the shadow of death; this living and loving God will also guide the hurting ones gently along, toward and into His green pastures of healing and restoration.

And, as I walked the large cross to the site of the makeshift memorial just a few hundred feet north of the terrorist massacre, individual after individual came up and hugged me. They knew why the cross man was here. Many asked for prayer because, even in the darkest of hours, they know that God hears prayer — and He comes to the aid of those who cry out to Him.


My heart, of course, was broken for each and every one of these men, women and children visiting the memorial site. One man wearing a red shirt with white printing on it that asked, “Need Prayer?” came up to me. “My daughter was one of the victims,” he sadly shared.


Some of the Prayer Team members who are part of the prayer vigils at the large makeshift memorial, and who are there to offer hope, faith and trust in God in spite of the horrific event.

I was taken back.  “And you are here, ” I remarked. “You are asking people if they need prayer, even though your daughter was killed. You are part of the Prayer team?” He nodded his head. “I have to be here. It’s part of my healing.”

Right then and there I really knew that San Bernardino would not only survive this horrific terrorist attack; San Bernardino would overcome this tragedy of tragedies. All because of God’s amazing grace, unfailing love and living hope. All because of Jesus Christ, the great Savior and healer!

The two days I was in San Bernardino went way too fast.  But what I saw and experienced  was a people who’s lives had been tragically interrupted by a deadly and vicious attack against the very fabric of  civility and innocence.


The truth is, San Bernardino will overcome this terrorist attack. San Bernardino will become stronger than ever before. It will take time. The city and its people will go through the 5-stage process of  grief recovery. And God, because He has heard their outcry and their prayers, will send forth His Spirit of great revival, great awakening  and great restoration throughout this city of 215,000 souls.

God’s help is not on the way. It’s already there! Let all who read this story make a pledge to the living and loving God to join  in this great revival, awakening and restoration by entering a long season of intercessory prayer for San Bernardino and its strong citizenry. Let’s ask Dr. Jesus, the Great Physician, to send His healing Word and make this city even stronger in its collective faith in the living God! –\O/


Praying for San Bernardino’s civic and political leaders.


Praying for the loved ones of those slain during the terrorist attack.


Praying for the safety of San Bernardino’s Thin Blue Line.