Tuesday morning, April 16, 2013
I have a very dear friend who lives in Inner Mongolia. She is there for two years teaching English. It is a call upon her life and a heavenly call at that. She had woken up, couldn’t sleep at like 3:00 am (her time). That puts it at 2:00 pm here in Texas. Interesting trivia point for no points in the game of life. As best I can tell China has only one time zone and it is much wider that the United States. We visited for about a half hour and had a good friends chat about where each of us is at. So we finished the call and hung up. I then checked my computer to see if Kim what’s his name, the mad man of North Korea had made the ultimate stupid move and signed the death warrant for himself and his military as well as the government as they know it. He hadn’t, which was good. Instead the headlines were 2 dead and many, many people very seriously injured at the Boston Marathon. The story came complete with graphic images.
I stopped and I cried. And I cried, and I cried some more. I had no clear reason why I was crying, no anger, no emotion directed towards the people involved, I just cried.
I remember when Kennedy was assassinated. 9/11 is a very clear image in my mind. It set off PTSD memories from Vietnam. I carry lots of emotional baggage from there, all of them with plenty of grounds to cry. I will share one story here. Christmas Eve, 1970, just before the annual cease fire, we fired an artillery fire support mission for an infantry unit setting up defensive positions ahead of the holiday. For reasons unknown to this day, the coordinates were called in wrong, or mixed up, or whatever. The resulting incoming rounds landed directly on the infantry unit killing nine, wounding virtually everyone else, with three of the wounded dying over the next couple of days. Merry Christmas. That pain is so deep of a traumatic wound crying is hard to do. Even after over 40 years.
But I cried today for Boston and I don’t know why. I don’t need to know why. My crying tells me I am human and I’m alive. It tells me I know there is evil in this world and pain and suffering. It tells me also there is good in this world and that I care about my fellow man, as I should.
I have had a very positive, good last week. Today started out really good and I was charged up emotionally. Talking with my friend in China (Inner Mongolia is part of China) was a nice treat because this wasn’t a normal time for possible communication. I will tell you sometime how much fun it was communicating back to the United States from Vietnam was. Then came Boston and my having good days cratered.
I went on to my class and threw 4 very nice pieces of pottery. Coming home I prayed for Boston. Starting to pray I was not sure what to pray for, I didn’t know what was on my heart. So I just prayed out loud to God, and I prayed for peace, yes, the people in Boston needed peace. That was the prayer, a good prayer. But I stopped because it wasn’t the right prayer I was supposed to pray. Turn on the proverbial light bulb, Eureka! I prayed for God’s peace for the people in Boston. God’s peace, what a difference, including God with peace. What a different peace. A peace that passes all understanding. Remember, I (and probably you as well) really don’t understand what happened in Boston. And understanding began to flow. I don’t know the people who planted the bombs in Boston or why. I don’t feel anger toward them nor do I want to lash out at anyone who perpetrated this deed. But I had new insight, God’s insight.
What I sorted out, had revealed, whatever, came into place driving home. When I got home I emailed my friend in China. Here is part of what I told her (if WordPress will allow it I will try and leave the original font): I know we live in a time of great evil. Evil I say, no, I said great evil. Even excluding the end times and return of Christ our days are evil. Okay not our days but the days we live in. Why today seems to have hit me more than other evils days I don’t know, it just has. The author of this act is not the person, group, terrorist group, whoever but it is Satan, the great deceiver, liar and author of all evil. I need to also pray for discernment to understand the Christians place in the days and our response to evil. Part of what I am saying here is that the Christian response needs to be, has to be, love. I know that that word love doesn’t mean ushy-gushy nonsense but I know that the response has to be love.
The subject of this post is love. That has to be what we live and exhibit in every aspect of our lives. If we hate like those who hurt us then they have won. If we hate we lose, the world loses, and those we love and care about lose. We as Christians are called to rise above this world, this world system that exists horizontally all around us. We are called to rise vertically, to rise to God’s standard and call that He has place on each of us that call ourselves Christian and be and be transformed into the image of Christ Jesus. We are called to so much more than this world can imagine. We have allowed ourselves to be pulled down to the worlds cheap not even second best standard of living. We need to cry for Boston just as Jesus wept for Jerusalem, not just for the victims yesterday, not just for the entire population that suffered an attack, but we need to weep that Boston exists in a world filled with evil.
What I want to leave you with may not come through with what I mean but I will try and say it and hope you can put the pieces of the puzzle together. First, read Matthew 5, 6 and 7. Let Jesus tell you how we should live. He told us, He told you and me. Throughout the New Testament we are to be like Jesus, to live and die as He did. It is pure simplicity yet is as complex as the nature and structure of the physical universe. But He laid it out. Second, we are to love. We can love because God first loved us and He then demonstrated it by sending His only son down to redeem us and save us not just from sin and death but to save us from ourselves. I can’t add to that because it is a complete statement and a complete truth.
Finally, we can pray. Will you join your prayers with mine for Boston and all that that word now means? And Boston now means so much more because we have talked about truth, God’s truth. Laid bare is the evil that is so prevalent in this world, evil has a name, Satan, the great deceiver, liar, cheat, thief, and murderer. Join in prayer to say where we as Christians stand, with Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father.