When You Can’t Find the Words…
If it was not clear before, it is clear now…
Some situations in life absolutely defy words.
I am referring to the Friday, December 14, 2012 mass killing claiming 28 lives that occurred in the small New England township of Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty of those killed were children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. It is one thing when people who are older are killed (I do not mean to denigrate the loss of those who are older); some comfort, however miniscule, can be taken in the reflection of long lives that have had the opportunity to have been well-lived, but… children? Those who are scarcely out of ‘babes in arms’? The thought alone of children being killed… never mind the grisly reality… is literally incomprehensible; we recoil from it in horror.
People ask a one-word question: WHY?
I have a short… and likely to be unpopular… answer: “Look in the mirror”
In this country, ever since the unholy crusade spearheaded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair resulted in a landmark legal decision (Murray vs. Curlet, 1963) handed down from the Supreme Court that abolished prayer, Bible readings, and all religious references from the American public school system, the United States of America, once a sober, industrious and prosperous Christian nation under God, has done its damndest to demand that God be legislated out of not only the schools, but out of every other remaining facet of life. You can rest assured that, since God is the consummate gentleman, He has honored these foul desires and abandoned this country to its own devices.
I do not want to hear the insane liberal, social progressive dribble that constantly drones like an aching, rotted tooth that we can take care of ourselves; that there is no God, that any and all truth is relative, that happiness consists in one doing whatever one wants, no matter what it is (as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else), that there are no absolute moral truths, that there is no longer any need for the traditional father-mother-children family model, and that any and all problems are human-solvable. We need to take one look at ourselves to know, without any need for clarifying explanations, how top-to-bottom-and-side-to-side corrupt, filthy, rotten and perverted our society has become, and I dare anyone to present a compelling argument to the contrary.
We have become a society focused on ourselves and on our own pleasures. We demand a right to act in any way we think is appropriate for ourselves, no matter what absolute moral guidelines and truths may stand in the way declaring ‘this is wrong’. Where there are no guidelines and truths to stand upon, any thought or action that can be lusted after is open for consideration, adoption and acceptance no matter what the consequences to ourselves or to others might be. We have chased after illicit sexual practices, we have legitimized the use of drugs, we drink to excess, we glorify violence and become ever more desensitized to it by watching it as our entertainment, we largely don’t even know our own neighbors, we have almost completely destroyed the ability of traditional marriage and the traditional family model to function as the heartbeats of a viable society, we have lost our compassion for the elderly, the hungry, the sick, the lonely, the disabled in body and mind, and the poor, and in the name of convenience and under the banner of ‘choice’ we have brutally slaughtered our own unborn and newly born… and we have had, and continue to have, a continual lust for more.
But somehow… despite all that we have done to create the living hell that our society has become… we also find the time to be ‘outraged’ when the consequences of what we have done manifest themselves in an incident such as the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.
Our collective fingers have pulled the trigger… and how dare we deny it.
There is a root cause, and here it is:
MANKIND HAS A DEPRAVED HEART
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
The secular worldview is that man is innately good. The Christian worldview is that man is innately evil. As between these two worldviews, it cannot be even reasonably debated that the secular worldview is truth. Do you really and seriously believe that man is innately good? Again… take a look around yourself and see what our own efforts have managed to accomplish. Not a pretty sight, is it?
The testimony of Holy Scripture cuts across all ages, because the depravity of man cuts across all ages. Here is testimony from the Old Testament:
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Will the evildoers never learn – those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on God? (Psalm 53:1-4)
Here is testimony from the New Testament (italic emphases mine):
What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18)
But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:22)
Assuming that social progressive principles have utterly failed to address society’s manifold problems (which is an understatement to say the least)… what can be done? In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, I have heard ringing endorsements that ‘it is time for stricter gun control’. This is patent nonsense… Connecticut already has very strict gun laws on its books. If even more strict gun laws were to be passed, when another such tragedy occurs, what will be said then?
We do not need more gun laws. We do need the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” (Matthew 19:16-17)
In the Old Testament, this is what God asked His people to do that they might be blessed by His hand:
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40)
Note that Jesus’ emphasis is on love… love of God, and love of neighbor. Understand that God alone has the power to change lives by changing hearts. This type of change cannot be effected through human efforts because mankind at its core is evil; it can only be affected through the movement of the Holy Ghost, who convicts the heart of sin and leverages the forgiving and healing grace of God through the blood of Jesus Christ to fundamentally change a person by causing the carnal man to die, and the spiritual man to be reborn by water and the Spirit. Such a transformation is so complete that it cannot be accomplished in any other way than to surrender oneself, body and soul, to the will of God.
This is what is needed… not mankind’s insistence that it can solve its own problems.
I wanted to comment on the title of this post… When You Can’t Find the Words. The Newtown, Connecticut shootings have shaken people to the core of their beings; so much so that many people will say ‘I don’t know how I can pray about this; I can’t get past the horror of it… how can I do this?’ God does not throw up His hands as if to say ‘They are right; there is no way My people can pray’ … this is the way (italic emphasis mine):
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)
You don’t know what to say? You are overwhelmed? You don’t have the words? You have an advocate in the Holy Ghost… He will intercede before God Himself, and your words will be heard. Only be willing to be contrite in heart and broken to your knees before a just, pure, holy and righteous God, only be willing to surrender to His will… and He will handle the rest.
Lastly, the greatest comfort that can possibly come out of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings is this:
God will produce good from it.
Witness this from the book of Genesis: Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, and literally was left for dead. This was the response of Joseph when he met his brothers long after they had planned and worked their evil against him:
After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father. When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.” ‘ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Genesis 50:14-20)
The last sentence bears repeating and added emphasis:
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
This may be hard for many people to understand… how God can bring any good out of something that is so demonic and horrific. That is because God is beyond our ability to comprehend (italic emphases mine):
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:6-11)
We must trust in God Almighty that He does nothing in vain effort… everything that occurs is under the control of God, and results in glory for His Name, and in ultimate good for His people. We must understand that we have a “short lens” with which we can only see the present, but God has a “long lens” that sees every moment in the past, present and future, both inside and outside of time. As a practical example of this, how do we know that what happened in Newtown, Connecticut may result in a melting of many hearts of those who hate God with a black hatred, to the end that their souls are salvaged from eternal hellfire? How do we know what manifold goodnesses God will bring if we do not trust Him, even in the midst of intense suffering? We must understand that God is consumed with caring for us in ways that we will never know until the time comes that we see and experience the heights and depths of His amazing love:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Always rest assured of this…
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)