God Isn’t Fixing This?

December 3, 2015

I rarely venture into politics or any type of analysis on national events. It mostly is a no-win situation with wide opinions and endless, usually unproductive debate. I love my country and feel blessed by the freedoms and privileges we enjoy. But I love my God more and realize that his kingdom is about much more than the United States of America. The truth is—that regardless of what happens here or what we become—his kingdom endures forever.

Fortified by that, I try not to be an alarmist concerning the course and future of my country. Nevertheless, I do feel concern as I see us systematically removing values and concepts reflective of God from our society. There are real and lasting consequences to this.

I see them in the latest tragic shooting in San Bernardino and its aftermath. Specifically I am thinking of the headline in The New York Daily News that proclaimed:

God Isn’t Fixing This!

The writer of the article—to me—seems to be using the shooting to mock politicians asking for prayer while making an appeal for gun control. The point? Since God is not fixing it, we need to by taking away guns.

I will let the gun control part of the article be discussed elsewhere.

My thoughts are on the headline. It creates questions for me like, “Why do we even expect him to fix it?” Or, “Why are we calling upon him now, when we have pushed him to the margins in almost every other way?”

Having pushed God out of the public arena means that we have also pushed out his values. What would an emphasis on “love your neighbor as yourself;” or “do not murder;” or “for where you have envy and selfish ambition; there you will find disorder and every evil practice;” or “hatred stirs us strife, but love covers all offenses;” or “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you;” or “learn to do good; seek justice; correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause,” (I could go on and on—literally) do for our societal narrative and behavior? It was said long ago of another nation and people, but it remains ever true:

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. 

Even if someone is skeptical about the whole notion of God, it would be difficult to deny the positive impact his precepts would have on a society who has forgotten how to treat each other with respect and dignity; who politicizes everything; who exalts and celebrates the vulgar while minimizing and ridiculing the civil; who reward the loudest and most belligerent while ignoring those with no voice; who create and foster an atmosphere of hate and then somehow is shocked when it explodes onto the innocent.

Perhaps God is trying to fix it, but we simply are not listening.

 

 

* Bible verses cited in order: Mark 12:31; Matthew 5:21-24; James 3:16; Proverbs 10:12; Matthew 5:44; Isaiah 1:17; Proverbs 14:34

 


From Mourning to Morning

October 17, 2011

Here I am sitting at the keyboard trying to collect the right words to describe my feelings about last week- about what I witnessed and felt in the aftermath of the horrific events that took the precious lives of Karen and Cole Ferguson.

I can’t really find many.

I do not want to rehearse any of those events. I am still thinking about the overwhelming outpouring of support demonstrated by those touched by this tragedy. God’s people rose up and surrounded Les, his boys and their family in truly tremendous ways. Darkness struck an awful blow, but Light powerfully responded. God was and is at work among his people. The Ferguson and Brown families are not and will not be alone in their grief.

To be sure- it is their (and to a lesser degree our) time for mourning. Few among us can really know the extent of their grief. There is really no way to compare it. It is journey they must undertake through the edges of the “valley of the shadow of death.”  Faithfully- I believe- they will take it. Faithfully God and his staff will be there to comfort and guide them-to eventually find peace beside still waters.

It is a journey from mourning to morning.

It will happen for each in their own time (and God’s). It will likely remain a bittersweet process. Perhaps it will not be fully complete until an eternal reunion, but one day it will be complete.

Les, I am praying for you- for strength on this journey.

Oh, and one more thing- no matter the depth of darkness and the damage it creates, it will never triumph over Light.


“I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”

October 11, 2011

Once upon a time I thought I knew all the answers. I had a Bible verse for everything. All anyone had to do was believe and all would be well. That seems so long ago now.

Yesterday, unimaginable tragedy invaded the life of the Ferguson family in Gulfport, MS. The life here of my good friend, Les Ferguson, Jr. will never again be filled with the sweet presence of his wife, Karen, and son, Cole. Evil in the form of a twisted soul violently took their lives.

Unbelievable. Totally. Yet true.

I’ll confess. I do not understand this. Why was anger and violence visited upon such a loving, gentle Christian family- a family dedicated to gracefully serving God? It all seems so desperately out-of-context. So– unbelievable.  How do we even go about processing such a tragedy?

I can offer up those Bible verses. I am well acquainted with the theology developed to address suffering and evil. It is solid. It is reliable. In the detached world of hermenuetics, it all makes sense. I believe it.  But we don’t live in that world.  Yesterday again reaffirmed this harsh reality.

I talked briefly with Les yesterday afternoon. Well, not really. I had no words, nor did he. I had no Bible verses to make this better. It is senseless. I am angry that Karen and Cole were taken away like this- under these circumstances. I am hurting with Les and his boys left to deal forever with the aftermath. I cannot imagine their grief.

I do believe that God is at work within this tragedy. I do believe that his Spirit immediately began ministering to Les in ways beyond our ability to grasp. I do believe that eventually all injustice will be met with God’s justice and eradicated. I do believe that Cole will be forever whole and happy. I do believe that Karen and her indomitably sweet spirit is alive and well in the presence of God. I do believe.

Lord, I just need help with my unbelief. I need your grace as I process the pervasive nature of evil. The purveyors of evil seem to continually win the day. Yesterday brought that home again to me in a personal way. This I do not understand. I am reminded of the pleading question of the martyrs in Revelation 6:10, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 

God, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

And Holy Father, please continue to wrap your arms tightly around Les, his boys, and their entire extended family. I believe you remain the answer to their grief.

And one more request Father: Come, Lord Jesus!


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