Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Letter to My Brothers And Sisters in the Faith

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Faith,

It is an amazing trait that we human beings possess. We can bottle grief to experience at a later time. When I heard about what happened at Newtown, at this point, I can't bring myself to report it, I noted that it was a horrible tragedy and went on with my day. I comforted my wife that evening and life went on as usual... busy. But tonight, as she is asleep and I am not, I am free to learn the details and grieve.

I know what my Bible says. I know that God cares for each and everyone of these children. Jesus says it is better for a man to die if he just causes a child to sin (paraphrase of Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, and Luke 7:2) so I expect this man to bear the brunt of the wrath of God. In Romans 12:19, God claims vengeance as His own, which should bring justice to our sense of comfort since his suicide robbed society of that claim.

I don't know if it's wrong, but I wish my name to be among the dead. And if it were, I wish that list to be a bit shorter. If it were, I could sit in the lap of my Father in Heaven, where those children are now, and ask why. And He would lovingly wipe away every tear. But from this side of death, I'm not faced with the question of why, but the question of how.

There are many factors that must have lead to this tragedy. As an American, I claim ownership for them all. As Americans, we voted God out of our schools and our government and our society. As Americans, by the choices of entertainment that we've made, we have promoted violence and hatred in everything from what we watch on tv to what we read in the paper. As Americans, we devalued life by promoting choice, we've taught our students that we evolved and have no purpose for living unless we are the strongest. As Americans, we value people because they are famous instead of having virtue. As Americans, we are guilty of sin. We have denounced the work of the Holy Spirit on our nation. We have kicked Him out as much as we can and denied His very existence. Maybe the words "under God" and "in God we Trust" should be taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance and off our money because as a nation, we're only under Him as a matter of position, not submission. And as a nation, we don't trust Him. We don't pray as a nation. We don't read the Bible as a nation. We don't even call ourselves Christian anymore. AD has been replaced, even in some Christian books, with CE. Counseling has mostly turned to medication. And the biggest problem facing America today is the Economy.

We need to repent! We need to pray! We need to get back into God's Word and start living God's life!

The next part that I have to say is something I believe. I can't back it up in Scripture, so I ask that you consider for yourselves if this is true, but I believe I have an understanding of the heart of God.

I believe His heart is broken. I believe He weeps. I believe that He weeps for the children, not because they are dead, but because the futures that He planned for them were stolen. I believe He weeps for all the mothers who even question if they can still be called a mother. He weeps for the ones that lived and witnessed the tragedy. He weeps for those who are distraught over losing a loved one. He weeps for you and me whose heart breaks for these people. He weeps for those who's hearts are hardened against Him because they blame a God they don't believe in for not stopping what happened. He weeps for the young man who has rejected Him in a most harmful way. That man, who did so much evil, is a man that Jesus still bled and died for on the Cross. I believe that Jesus weeps for the teachers who have to go back to work, for the men and women who have a part in investigating this tragedy, for the kids who are afraid to go to school. He weeps and His heart is broken.

I also believe that this man was demon-possessed. I can't prove it and I won't try, but it seems to me to be a work of the enemy. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy and even though this seems to have taken the lives of 28, it has destroyed the lives of many more. A bitter man is more effective in the hands of the enemy than a dead one. Not only are some dead, but other hearts are hardened against God, and this becomes fuel for the fire in a rage against the idea that there is some good super-natural being ruling the universe. The idea of free will doesn't become a source of good news, but twisted to bad. Instead of realizing that we are free to choose Christ, they say that some are given freedom to destroy. "If God is so good, then how could..." And we Christians come back with, "but God isn't allowed in schools," as if that is going to turn someone's heart to the Lord.

I think we need to realize that this is Spiritual Warfare and the enemy wants us to fight like Him. Make our opponent look foolish so we can feel that we've won. He doesn't care if an atheist can't win an argument, he's just happy that we're arguing with him. We aren't going to win this war by fighting.

What does the Bible say?

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

We are commanded to stand, and to love each other. So when the vote comes to us, make the right one. When we have a chance to influence others, influence them for God. When the choice comes up for entertainment, choose something edifying. And when we are around each other, love.

It's okay to weep for those people. It's our natural response to go to God and ask questions. But we also have a job to do, and God has given us the ability to push our grief down for a later time so that we can be strong enough to stand as the enemy attacks.

Stand and Love in His strength,
Your brother in Him,
Jonathan Dow

1 comment:

Jason said...

Genesis 6... God grieved that He had created man. He was hurt, sorry, and regetful. I agree Jonathan, I think He weeps. Only His promise to not wipe us out again is what stays His hand I am sure...though we seem to be doing a fine job of it ourselves.
A friend of mine just reminded me about the hundreds of very young children that are freezing and starving to death in refugee camps in Kabul.
I find it distressing that since 2001, American soldiers and guns (endorsed by the the American people and government) have participated in conducting a war in Afghanistan for 12 years that has culminated in these deadly conditions for families ravaged by war.
Our hypocrisy as a nation knows no bounds. We mourn and rage the death of innocents in our backyard while murdering our neighbors.
God does weep, as do I.