Posted by: ritagone | January 12, 2011

Random Violence

People with guns.

People with bombs.

People with bullying, hurtful words.

It goes on and on, doesn’t it?

There will continue to be national and even worldwide rhetoric about what happened in Tucson, Arizona, or the Netherlands or Afghanistan or the Sudan because, as we who are believers in Jesus Christ know and understand, man is inherently sinful and so often manifests behavior that is morally and physically wrong.

And the frustrating thing is that you and I can do very little about it.  Oh, we can talk and debate and shake our heads and ponder.  There’s lots of pondering.  Lots of words.  Turn on the television and you will see and hear constant debate over how to handle people, how to control guns and weapons and how to do better next time.  Except that we don’t do better next time, do we?  And your country doesn’t do better than my country.  In the land of violence and hatred, in the country of innocence damaged and violated, we are all liable to be hurt.  Turn the wrong corner, go to the wrong street meeting, stop at the wrong drug store at the wrong time of day, and your life takes a disastrous course you would never have imagined no matter how you might have thought about it.

And so do you stay home?  Do you stop communicating with the outside world?  Do we start the bomb shelters again, digging holes and building below-ground cement walls that might protect us but that will most certainly remove us from all human contact?  Is that how we really want to live?  If we are followers of Jesus Christ, is that where He is leading us?

Obviously not.

What we can do, what we must do in the face of the kind of random violence that has become so commonplace around our world is this: we must talk to one person at a time about the Prince of Peace.  We must try to change minds and hearts one mind and heart at a time.  We probably won’t have the opportunity – you and I – to speak in front of hundreds of people or legislate the laws of the land or change thousands of opinions in one fell swoop.  But we might be able to stop one person from hating someone else or another racial or ethnic group.  We might convince another person to embrace Jesus as Lord and Saviour.  We might be the example that one person needs to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel, and that one person might then lead another person, and so on and so on, in a magnificent domino effect that is finally positive rather than negative.

And if you make that your mission, if you and I forget about being afraid and concentrate on being faithful, if we carry on with the work Jesus has given us to do, then at some point it will make a difference, it will tip the balance, or at least we’ll go down fighting to make it so.

I hate it when fear immobilizes me.  I hate it when I see a situation where it seems like the enemy wins and God loses.  And so I refuse to allow that to happen.  Because I know that that’s not the way the story ends.  I’ve read Revelation.   I believe what Jesus told us about the final scene, the last chapter.  So I take a deep breath and I press on.  That’s what Christian Associates is committed to, and that’s what I hope each one of you reading this is also committed to each and every day.

Ultimately we must rest in the Lord, because we have nowhere else to turn.  We must take comfort in Psalm 131:

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;

my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things

too great and too marvelous for me.

2      But I have calmed and quieted my soul,

like a weaned child with its mother;

like a weaned child is my soul within me.

3      O Israel, hope in the Lord

from this time forth and forevermore.

         I wish for you today and for the rest of this week an awareness of how much God wants to comfort you in the midst of whatever it is you are struggling with.  Fight on.  And don’t forget to allow Him to calm and quiet your soul.


Regards, Rita

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