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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

God Hears the Cries of Boston


It may seem like I have forgotten about the blog lately, but I simply have been caught up with a couple of things at home, including trying to do some editing to get the second volume of Finding God in the Seasons of Divorce to the publisher…. wouldn't take so long if I wasn't so picky!  Soon, I promise.  In addition, I am actually away from home to take my 90+ year old father to visit some relatives in Chicago (long drive)…..figure there are not too many trips like this left….but lots of time to blog.  He is going to get to go to his first professional ball game tonight….we go to see the Chicago Cubs play the Texas Rangers.  Promises to be a big day.  But while here, heard the sad news about the bomb blasts in Boston, although only bits and pieces.  Of course, we all need to be praying for the grieving families, as well as those who are doing the investigative work, whether it is international terrorism or simply some angry young man like the one at Sandy Hook
A truly sad thing.  At least for most of us.  There are those, who seem to rejoice in these kinds of acts, and those people also need our prayers.  I vaguely remember some discussions back at the time of the 9/11 murders that included comments about the fact that the United States had just been introduced to the world of terrorism in a most obscene way, and that places like Israel have had to deal with these kind of horrific acts for many years.  I had a friend who was studying in Jerusalem back in the 90’s who told me about the day he was headed across town when a bomb blast blew up a bus, killing and injuring many.  During my time at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, there were often times when a bomb blast in Israel would place the campus on high alert.  The Jewish people are very aware of the hatred that exists against them by some misguided and angry people - and the fear is that the same incident would happen there.    But when 9/11 introduced the U.S. to the fact that we are not immune from the hatred and violence in the world, those far away stories affecting only a few individuals became stories about us, now. 
But what seemed to be an awakening in our country has, over time, become watered down by political correctness and conspiracy theory idiocy, as well as the continued assumption that if only we talk and be nice to people, they won’t do anything bad or hate us.  And while it is possible that talking and kindness can change the way people relate to us, it ignores a core reality of human existence, that is also not politically correct:  the sinful nature of human beings.  Oh, sure you and I may not be a person who would go set off bombs to kill race spectators or tourist buses, nor fly airplanes into buildings…but can you honestly say that you have never done anything wrong?  Or that you actually DID do all the good and right things you knew ought to be done in your life?  Or that you will never do anything you are ashamed of ever again?  If you think you are not included in this brokenness, then maybe that is your first mistake (or sin)….though I doubt it.

I was reading on the internet the other day about a murder here in the states that made national headlines…I don’t remember the details.  But I remember a comment that was posted below the article in which an individual was frustrated that the murders of four young black men in Chicago would not be granted the same significance by the media of this one murder.  The same kind of thing is, of course, occurring now.  The terrible Boston tragedy is gaining non-stop coverage and analysis, as well it should.  But there were at least as many murders and atrocities in our world occurring simultaneously, whether in North Korean prison camps or gang infested cities or through the hands of war lords in Africa….about which we may not hear (or care!).  But God does.  He notices the passing of each one who comes before Him for judgment.  He notices the tears that stain the faces of the families.  He notices the hardness of people who do not care.  And he notices the cause as sin continues to spread its grip in our world.  And He notices whether or not His people exemplify the changed hearts of love by the way they live and the compassion they show.  He notices whether or not we take seriously the need to let people know there is a better way, a way to be freed from sin’s grasp on our hearts and minds and deeds.  

So as the investigators and the health care workers do their jobs there in Boston, and law makers do whatever they feel their job is. Perhaps it is time to ask when we believers are going to actively deal with the core problems.  When will we take seriously our responsibility carry the promise of God’s grace and new creation salvation to a world in such desperate need of it?  That is the only answer to problems like these:  a changed heart through the power of the Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  Bombing is already against the law.  Murder is already against the law.  Assault is already against the law.  Capturing the individuals who murdered in Boston yesterday will not change the hearts or deeds of those who plan on doing the same kind of murderous deeds in Jerusalem or Rwanda or wherever else tomorrow.  When will our loss of innocence open our eyes to the spiritual realities of the world in which we live and the depth of evil that exists? 

Sadly, in the U.S., I suspect it won’t be long before the conspiracy theorists find a way to blame this on the Jews or the government, or the actions are all explained away by a profile of the individual’s cultural background and everybody will move on as if it has nothing to do with OUR lives or who WE are...anything to prevent us from looking deeply at the mar that sin has left upon our hearts and the hearts of those around us.  God has compassion and mercy for sinners….but for those who deny it exists, there is never a need to come seek that forgiveness.  But for those who know that they, too, are individuals whose lives have been broken, God will never turn away those who come seeking His grace and restoration.  And that our example the early Christians set so effectively in the Roman Empire that they literally turned the world upside down….by overcoming evil with good, hatred with love and telling the world there is a better way.  Even as we pray for those suffering in Boston, let’s do our best to help turn the tide. 

TL:dr  The evildoers in our world, as exemplified in Boston, more than anything else, need to experience a personal encounter with God, and it is up to us to help them know how.

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