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Many of us were shocked by the murder of rapper and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle, 33. Based on reports, he took an impromptu trip to one of his retail stores and was shot repeatedly after taking a picture with a child. At the time of his death, he was dating actress Lauren London. They have a son together in addition to Hussle’s daughter from a previous relationship and London’s son from her relationship with rapper Lil’ Wayne. I loosely followed Lauren London’s relationship with Hussle and knew they separated for a short period of time after years of dating, but reconciled and were building their family. Then this tragedy happened.

Although I can’t name one Nipsey Hussle song, the news broke my heart. It broke my heart because I immediately thought of London and their children. This tragedy made another woman single and more children fatherless because of senseless violence, which ultimately was due to an argument between Hussle and the killer. People of color and those living in urban environments are not unfamiliar with death and tragedy. Death is something they have to address early on because of the impoverished and violent conditions of they cities in which they reside. Sadly, many children and youth plan their funerals and do not envision themselves living past 21. Nipsey Hussle’s murder was just another sad reminder of what can happen to a person in the prime of their life.

This is why it is so important for us as believers to reach out to and build relationships with those who face these harsh realities. Oftentimes, people cannot see that there is a better way to resolve issues, end senseless beefs and better themselves and others. Nipsey Hussle knew this. He was intentional about building businesses in the community where he grew up and providing jobs for people who saw no other way to get ahead than gang banging and violence. He knew people would not be able to see a better way of living if someone doesn’t show them. As the Bible says in Romans 10:14-15, “But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent” (NRSV)? Hussle’s tragic murder is another sad reminder that there are hurting people in places where many are scared to go who need encouragement and ministry.

This is why I want to encourage Lauren London. As a widow who lost her husband unexpectedly while seven-months pregnant with our second baby, I want her to know that there are difficult days ahead. There will be sleepless nights when the pillowcase will be soaked with tears. There will be days when you feel like you’re in a haze and you can’t go on. However, I want her to know that if she calls on Jesus, he will hear the cries and prayers. He will send a comforter. He will give her supernatural power to make it through the tough days and do everything she needs to do as a mother. I am a witness to that. I don’t want her to give up. I want to tell her please don’t fall into despair. I know what it’s like to lose your soulmate and protector, but God will not leave you unprotected. He, himself, will protect you provide for you and ultimately heal your broken heart.

We’ll never fully understand why God allows tragedy and disappointment into our lives, but I want to suggest that the reason is for such a time as this…so that they, or we, may encourage the younger women. Who is God calling you to encourage?

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