Monday, December 17, 2012

How do we get through this?

In the wake of last Friday's murders many people have been posing all sorts of questions, comments and concerns about the state of our nation.  How could these brutal attacks happen?  What was the cause?  Should we have a discussion on gun control?  How can I let my kids go back to school? Where was God?  How could He let this happen? Is there anywhere we are safe? ...The questions, the fear, the anger and confusion go on and on.

Here is my take on this unthinkable and comprehensible tragedy.  
Let me first just get the political issue out of the way so I can get to what is really important.  There are already plenty of laws on the books about gun control. Adding more gun control--or even taking away our right to own guns--is not the answer.  People with intent to harm others will find a way to do so, laws or not.  This would not restrict access to thieves and murderers, it would restrict access to law-abiding citizens, making it impossible for them to defend themselves.
Now that I have that out of the way, let me get on the the "meat and potatoes" of the issue. 

We cannot go about our lives living in fear because of these tragedies occurring.  If we do that we'll never go anywhere, do anything.  There isn't a single place in this world that you can be 100% physically safe.  The reason is because this world is full of sin.  It is a fallen world.  When Satan chose to try and become like God and was thrown out of Heaven he wanted to bring everyone he could down with him.  He tricked Adam and Eve in the Garden.  When Eve ate that fruit, it not only brought sin upon her, it not only brought sin upon her offspring, it brought sin into the very earth itself.  The earth was created as a perfect place, sin is what has brought it to the state it is in today.  The earth is groaning now, knowing the end is coming closer and closer.  

Our only hope is to put our faith in Jesus.  We can't turn to "religion", to politics, to another person for answers, for hope... We won't find it there.  There are not many ways of getting to God.  There is one way.  We aren't all working our way to the same destiny.  That's a lie Satan has brought about to fool people into believing that they can earn their way to good by doing good. It's a lie.  
There's an image I've seen of a god--maybe the God--standing at the top of a mountain.  There are people all around it going up it in various ways.  The point of this image is that we all use various ways to get to God but they all work.  Not so.
The amazing thing is that we don't have to work our way up that mountain!  God came down to us.  We have a debt to pay.  "For the wages of sin is death."  Our debt for the sin we commit is death--spiritual death--complete separation from God, our Creator.  There is no way we can ever pay that debt off.  Ever.  But God loved us SO much He chose to take our place. "But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD." 
Jesus came to this earth, leaving His throne, to pay our debt for us.  He lived a sinless life--the only one ever to do so on this earth--and because it was a sinless life, He had no debt to pay.  Instead, He went to the cross, taking on every sin ever committed and ever to be committed.  When He cried out on the cross, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"  It was because every sin had been poured into Him.  God, being perfect, cannot look upon sin.  He turned His face from Jesus.  What pain that must have been.  The God-head, the trinity, separated for the first time in eternity...All because the love for a dying and sinful humanity was so great.

We were created for a purpose.  We are the only creation to be made in the image of God.  Why?  Because our purpose is to fellowship with God.  The dogs, birds, fish, trees...they weren't created in His image.  We were.  Out of all creation God chose humans.  What an awesome and humbling privilege.  

God hasn't destroyed those on the earth who do evil yet because He wants no one to perish.  He desires that everyone come to Him in saving faith.  God doesn't delight in evil, but He is patient, wanting everyone to choose Him.  He will not force Himself upon someone.  It is a choice every person has to make.  You can choose not to believe in Him.  You can choose to believe there is no God at all, that there are many gods, that there is no Heaven or Hell--that is your right.  Your choice will have an eternal consequence.  During this life we have a choice.  After we die there is no choice, no second chance.  

And as we saw on Friday, there is no telling when our life will end.  Now is the time.  You can't live your life thinking you'll wait until you're old to "find God".  You can't simply coast through life thinking you have all the time in the world.   You can't simply say your good enough.  You're not.  None of us are.  And none of us are promised tomorrow, or our even next breath.  It is my earnest prayer that if you are reading this and have not called out on the name of God you will do so right now.  "The Lord is near to all you call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth."  There isn't some magical prayer to pray. He knows your heart.  He is right there waiting.

I had no fear taking my children to school today.  Not because I'm living in some fantasy world where I think no harm could ever come to them, not because I think we live in a safe neighborhood and they are in good schools.  None of that matters.  I had no fear taking my kids to school today because I know if something were to happen to them they would be in Heaven.  I know this because I was there when they each asked Jesus to come into their hearts and save them.  I have seen them grow in their faith and knowledge of God.  I have seen their desires moving from just their own salvation to the salvation of their friends and family.  I have seen the change that takes place in a person's life when s/he truly accepts Jesus as his/her savior.  I know that if something were to happen to my two beautiful children I would see them again one day in Heaven, because I have done the same thing.

If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and LORD this doesn't mean there won't be heartache, there won't be troubles and pain and sorrow and confusion and questions that don't seem to have a reasonable answer.  He didn't die for our problems, He died for our sins.  That may seem harsh, I'm not trying to seem that way, it's just truth.  Going back to what I said before, there is pain and sorrow on the earth because of sin.  Unfortunately our sins don't just effect us, they cause others pain and sorrow as well.  

But, there is wonderful hope for those who have chosen Christ!
"There will be trouble in this world, but take heart, I have overcome the world!"--Jesus

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