15 December 2012

Tears for the Nation and Sandy Hook Elementary

Friends, I'm crying. The President is crying. We're all crying. This doesn't happen often. 

Ever since I heard the news yesterday morning of all the children who were killed at their school in Connecticut, I've been devastated. I'm wrecked because of the evil that our society so often attempts to explain away. We take what is incomprehensible and use it as an excuse to deny the reality of what is occurring all around us and inside of us. We call it "mental illness". We pretend that stricter gun laws will prevent people from killing their neighbors. I think of all the evil we harbor in our own hearts and attempt to justify by comparing ourselves with others and thinking we are not so bad. And the more I thought and prayed and read what others were saying the more sad I became.

I'm sad because there are so many Christians who forget the words of Jesus at times like this.

I went to a midnight showing of The Hobbit two nights ago and was reminded of the way truth, courage and beauty stand against sin, darkness and evil. I was reminded that in order to go on any true adventure, risk is required. Every day we go outside the safety of our own homes we are in danger of death. For many, the danger lurks inside their own homes. Our country is full of homes filled with secret evils that are hidden from the surrounding community. We are always shocked and surprised when it shows itself in public because we often hold onto the deception that private beliefs should be held privately and stay there. But they never do. They cannot.

So, I wanted something to say to express how I was feeling and give encouragement to friends and anyone who would listen. So I wrote the following on Facebook:

"Whenever a tragedy happens in our country or in our world, so many people want to find someone or something to blame, and then propose a series of previously attempted solutions that don't work. The most important thing in this moment is to have compassion and bring comfort to those who are grieving. All the psychological, medical, political and scientific theories in the world have not done anything to remove evil from the hearts of men or bring lasting hope to someone in despair. Love your neighbors today."
So many people responded that it was the most encouraging thing they heard all day and I was encouraged that my words could bring hope and peace instead of contributing to the firestorm that drives the mobs to more hatred and disunity within the church and outside.

As I survey social media and the internet today, I see that we all return to the same tired arguments about mental health, gun control, getting angry at the medical examiner, and how "faith" can help us through the bad times. Until we can love God in the good times and love our neighbors enough to know who they really are, we will continue to experience more events like yesterday and question whether God is good. The question is not whether God is good, but whether we are good. And the answer is no. 

I'm crying for those little kids. I'm crying because I know these kinds of things will happen again.

More than anything I'm looking forward to the day when the leaves from the tree of live - that grows in the eternal city - will fall to ground by the river that flows from the throne of God, and bring healing to the nations.

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowingfrom the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever." -Rev. 22:1-5

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