Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Whose Fault is This

I'm not thoroughly out to answer the question... but I am out to clear something up.

I've heard more times than I care to mention over the past few days statements such as:
"Where was God?" and...
"It's time we put God back in schools" and... I've seen these ridiculous ideas that imply that God did nothing because we've locked Him out.

It's people, rightfully, trying to place blame somewhere.  We do it to feel like we have control over the situation.  (Though it is quite obvious that we do not have control since such tragedies have occurred in our country.)  So, it's understandable as to why people would want to find an individual or idea as to where to place blame.

But, friends, let me petition you with this idea:  Contrary to our narcissistic belief that God obeys us, or that He dwells where and when we allow Him to, God is God.  He can and will be wherever He so chooses to be.  In our public schools, despite any 'laws' on the books, in prisons, in agnostic / atheists homes... etc.  Anywhere.  Anytime.  He is still in control. 

I think it is easier for us to claim God wasn't there that day at Sandy Hook Elementary... or in the movie theater in Aurora... or in Columbine so many years ago.  It's easy to place blame on law makers who have shoved Him out as if He were a human being capable of being bullied around.  It's easier, in our minds that have only a small bit of understanding, than to say that God was there... and to feel that He did not intervene.

I'm not going Westboro Baptist on you.  Trust me.  I'm not saying that God thought those innocent children deserved the lot they were handed that day, but ask me if I think God was in that school, and I'll answer 'yes' without wavering 

Had He not been in that school who knows how many more lives could have been taken.
Had He not been in that school, we wouldn't see the heroic stories of teachers sacrificing themselves.  Despite popular belief, the need to sacrifice yourself for another individual isn't exactly a trait we are born with.
He was there in the answered prayers of survivors.  Parents.  Administrators.

And whether we like it or not... even in situations like these... God is still in control.

Scripture tells us that God makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, the rain come on the just and the unjust.  (Matthew 5:45)  Jesus says that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18).  Even in a public school in the midst of evil. 

So - let's stop being ridiculous, acting as if we can point God in and out of where we may, and let's place blame where blame is due.

Thousands of years ago there was a garden.  God created one man and one woman who were perfect.  He gave them reign of the Garden with only one rule, do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  And they blew it.  The evil that was passed on from that one act has entered the human race and is passed down, and passed down, and passed down.  It lives in us all, and it is only due to the love of God - who sacrificed His own Son, mind you - that we can be forgiven and live apart from the evil that, by birth, roots in us.

The blame isn't on God, by means of "you allowed this to happen!" or by means of "He passively exited the building."  The blame is on us... it's on our sinful nature.  It's on the evil that entered the world with one bite of fruit.  God is still the victor!  He is still in control!  And He still is offering us a way out, a way home.

Monday, December 17, 2012

In Light of the Tragedy...

My mind and heart have been broken over the recent tragedy in Connecticut.  It's sad I must say 'recent', as it seems like in the day and time we live within it's just a matter of time before a similar tragedy takes us all by storm and surprise.  That in itself is enough to overwhelm my soul with grief.  This time, specifically, has shattered my heart into tiny pieces.  For the lives of innocent children, unable to protect themselves, to be taken so hastily... so violently, quite frankly, well, it brings tears to my eyes and angers me.  What a coward this man was, can't even pick on someone his own size and then he takes his own life.  The cheap way out.  As I said.  I'm angry.  

I'm angry that surviving children will forever live with the events that happened that day.  I'm angry that first responders will never... never... be able to erase the images from their memories.  I'm angry that mothers and fathers got robbed of recitals, graduations, weddings... and in some cases, grandbabies.  These children had their entire lives ahead of them.  

In light of the recent event, and the anger, sadness, and utter grief I've felt, and the tears that I've wept for these children and these families, please proceed knowing that I, in no way, am trying to downplay what happened in Connecticut.  It is this Holy anger for righteousness, and our responsibility to protect our children, our own, and those of others, that has brought me here, to this place.  

As the tragedy continues to unfold before us we begin to see things from all angles.  

Just yesterday I saw on facebook people praising the first responders.  "Make sure you appreciate the police force," it screams.  And they're right. 

I saw another post about teachers.  How when you drop your kids into their care, they become 'their kids', kids they'd give their very lives for.  So when you drop your kids off and hug them good-bye, hug their teachers, too, for loving them well.  And it's right.

Then there is gun control.  I've heard, "Guns don't shoot people, people shoot people."  I've heard, "More gun control!  Make it harder to buy guns!"  I've heard, "If only the principal could conceal and carry!"  And, ironically enough, I've heard people talking about how wrong it is to talk about gun control right now.  

But I'm here to propose a completely different angle.  It fears me that my comparison may very well get me stoned, but I'm prepared for that.  

It's amazing to me how appalled our nation becomes over the death of 20 children in the safety of a school building, when every day 1,000's of children are killed within the safety of their mother's wombs... yet we don't blink an eye.  (One site says 9 abortions every FOUR minutes.  Yet we haven't seen that on the news...)

We don't yell for justice. 
We don't have vigils. 
We don't have prayer meetings. 
We don't arrest the doctors or storm into their offices prepared to take them out.

No, we pass laws making it the mother's choice.  

Cowards.  Folks, I'm angry.  I'm angry that the lives of 20 innocent children, with their entire lives ahead of them, have been stolen from them, and I'm equally as angry that thousands of children, who lived less life than these 20 had the opportunity, were robbed from theirs as well.  Yet, the President has never spoken on behalf of one of those children.  

And I'm not a circumstantial abortionist.  Raped?  I don't care, put the baby up for adoption.  Not his/her fault.  Mother's health at risk?  This one kills me.  Ask any mom if she'd take a bullet for one of her children and she'll answer "yes" before you're done asking.  If teachers can die for children who aren't theirs... I'm just saying.  

Maybe I seem cold-hearted, or dare I say narrow-minded, but if we're going to call murder 'murder', then let's do it appropriately.  

Again - I'm with everyone else, watching the news, weeping, praying and grieving about the lives that should not have been lost.  I just pray that as we take action against the murdering of children and adults, that it overflows into the places where it is deemed acceptable today.  Seems like a good place to start...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Would it Have Been Too Much?

This time of year has a tendency to be so busy.  Good busy, but busy still.

This year, in effort to combat the busy-ness and keep Jesus in it all, we've started a daily advent scripture reading and craft.  The material is great.  It only takes about 15 minutes out of the day, and our advent tree (where the 'craft ornaments' hang) is coming together nicely.

But somedays, that even seems too much.

And, yet, I have to believe that we don't understand what too much even is...

The Lord moved me many weeks ago to start from the beginning again in His word, so I've been reading nightly as the Lord leads.  I'm currently in Exodus, so in reality, I'm not even to the hard stuff yet.

Yet - it seems so hard.

As I began Exodus 25, when the Lord starts laying out all of the requirements for how things should be made, so detailed, so precise, no illustrated manual, I'll admit, not only did I find myself glancing across much of it (and to my frustration making myself go back and read it), it also occurred to me that had I been the one to whom the Lord had given the instruction... I just may have bailed.  

I'm ashamed to say it.  I really am.  But I know where the scripture is headed.  I know we've only begun to lay out the Law.  I know how doomed we all are under the weight of it.  I know that my life would be utterly consumed with the burden, only to be destined to fail.

And I really don't believe I could overlay gold the right way.  Seriously.

The whole revelation has really brought me to a new level of thankfulness of God's grace, but also to a new understanding of the relief of His mercy.

Not only does He offer grace and forgiveness and mercy... but He leads us to Himself, at the appropriate time, as He has put us in that time.  In other words, I may very well be right that I would have utterly bailed on the Lord's direction had I been alive in the time of Moses, yet, knowing me, before I even was, God ordained my timing as here and now to bring me to Himself.  He does it, not me.  Which brings me to the turn-around, that maybe, had I been in that time, God would have worked in my life to make me obedient.  Maybe not.

All in all - there's a great relief that has come with the debt that has been paid, out of my hands, apart from my understanding, outside of anything I could accomplish or do on my own.  He opened my eyes, He led me towards Him, and He removed the chains and the burden.

He is so good.