Sunday, December 16, 2012

Answering the Question: Where Was God?

Where was God?  Was that the question Neil Cavuto asked Mike Huckabee after the tragic murder of 20 first graders, their principal, and teachers?  God was right there in the midst of them, right there with his wings around them comforting them as He lead them into His kingdom.  God was there when each of those teachers sheltered the rest of the students.  God was there when someone turned on the intercom so that the rest of the school knew something was wrong and to act immediately to save the children.  God was there when the custodian ran through the halls yelling that there was a gunman and to hide.  God was there when the principal and the teacher rushed the gunman to try to stop him.

Jesus Himself said "There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  These people in Sandy Hook Elementary School who immediately put their own bodies in between the shooter and the children were the hands and arms and feet and bodies of God.  Sandy Hook Elementary School, we are told, has 700 students, not counting the teachers and other staff.  The heroism shown by those teachers and the principal and janitor, as well as whoever it was who turned on the intercom so the rest of the school was on the alert immediately built a wall of defense the very best they could.  Twenty-eight lives were lost if I got the latest count. Over 672 lives were saved by their heroism.  Don't forget that.  We don't know yet what all happened in that school or why the shooter finally stopped shooting at everyone else and shot himself instead.  God is always working in our lives unseen but so few of us want to acknowledge His presence or His miracles.  Could you not choose to look at this event as a miracle that more lives were not lost?  That somehow, someway, it all occurred in just that one small location in the school and so many lives were spared IS a miracle.  That the killer chose guns rather than strategically placed bombs, or even a car bomb could be considered a miracle.  How much more damage would bombs have caused?  How much more loss of precious life?

Mike Huckabee said it right when he said that we are a society which has systematically removed God from our culture.  Here's the big mystery of our culture today.  People don't want to acknowledge that God exists, that is until something tragic happens.  But then instead of calling out to Him to invite Him back into our lives, we choose to blame him and question him and doubt Him. We never once remember that there is also a fallen archangel formerly named Lucifer but now known as Satan who is out there to destroy us in any way he can.  If God is real, then what He has said is real.  And God has told us that Satan roams the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  But it's so much easier for us to put the blame on God instead of putting it where it belongs, on Satan.  This world is full of both good and evil.  This world is at war.  Spiritual war between good and evil, between God and Satan.  It won't be much longer until the war ends and God wins.  But until then, Satan is getting in his best shots.  And there will be fallout.  Innocent lives get hurt, damaged, or killed in wars no matter what kind of war.  But God will win.

And God WAS with those children and their teachers.  He was with them just as He was with me when I was being molested fifty years ago from the ages of three to seven by old men who were neighbors, and teenage boys and girls who were neighbors, or the children of friends of the family.  How does a child get through that and live?  God. Now I am not going into any details.  Suffice it to say that was the late 1950's to early 1960's and people did not speak of such things.  But during at least one of those incidents, I apparently must have lost consciousness and woke to find myself in different clothing standing with Jesus Christ.  I felt nothing of the molestation.  I only knew what was happening right before and right after that evil incident. Instead I was being comforted by God.  So why didn't God just stop it from happening at all? Because He gave humans free will so they can choose who to follow, Him or Satan.  But He protected my life out of the incident.  He protected my mind and spirit.  And I absolutely KNOW God was with each of those children and their teachers Friday.

Those children died in a way that none of us ever want to even have to think about our children dying. But they were in the arms of God through it all, whether they could see Him or whether He kept Himself unseen.  The Bible says that God knows each and every sparrow that falls to the ground and that we are of much greater value than many sparrows.  You can legislate God out of our schools and out of our public lives to where you don't think He is there.  But God is everywhere and God is still in school.  Especially when someone overtaken in evil for whatever reason attacks God's precious little ones.  Your laws cannot keep God out of school.  They may force people to be silent about God and not read our Bibles in school.  But those of us who carry God in our hearts take God everywhere we go.  Yes, even into the schools.

So for anyone who is wondering where God was Friday morning, remind them that God was giving strength to the heroes and heroines at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Because that's what He was doing.  As long as evil still exists in this world, we will have to deal with it.  But God is always right there ready if we call out to Him for help.  He is always there giving us strength and courage when we are weak and afraid.  And God is there for anyone even now who needs Him and sincerely calls out to Him for help right now.  And as tragic and sad as it is that 20 young lives were ended on this earth, God escorted them with His angels into His presence for all eternity, to be missed on earth, but to be reunited later with those who choose to believe.

This shooting along with the mall shooting earlier will no doubt be brought up later as political fuel to fan the flames of the heated gun control battle.  It's shameful and embarrassing that our political leaders would stoop to such manipulations to try to force their agenda into the spotlight.  Gun control would not have prevented such tragedies.  As we have been reminded, the Oklahoma City bombing wasn't about guns.  It was about fertilizer.  The terrorism of 9-11 was not about guns.  It was about airplanes, and box cutters.  Shortly after that fears at the airport caused everyone's shoes, open drinks, and even shampoo bottles to be things to be searched for possible bombs.  You can legislate everything until there is nothing more to legislate.  But as long as there is evil in the world, there will still be murders, molestations, crime, hate, and everything else that leads to destruction.  Only God brings peace, love, and true freedom.  And no matter how much you try to legislate God out of the world, for those of us who believe, He will always live in our hearts.  I guess that's why the Bible prophesies that eventually, since legislating everything else doesn't work to get rid of God, killing off the believers will do it.  Hitler tried it with the Jews and those Christians who reached out to help their Jewish brothers and sisters.  Hitler did a lot of damage.  But Hitler's plans failed.  God is still here in our hearts.  God will always be in the schools and anywhere else this world tries to remove Him from.  He created this world.  You can't take Him out of that.  You can't take God out of the beautiful sunsets, or the majestic ocean waves.  You can't take God out of any of His glorious creation.

Those 20 beautiful children are His creation as well, along with the school staff who also died protecting the children.  So, the next time you ask, or you hear someone else ask, "Where was God?", you tell them what I said.  Or give them this article.  I believe over time as healing begins in Newtown, we may begin to hear more and more stories of the miracles happening that kept people alive.  We will hear more and more of the bravery and heroism of the staff who kept the children hidden and safe and calm.  Managing to keep 628 elementary school students safe and calm in that situation had to be a miracle in itself.  It was God's guiding hand helping the teachers and staff know what to do, when and how to do it.

Psalm 33:12 says: " Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance."  You want to know where God is?  Right here waiting for us to invite Him back into our lives and our culture.  But He isn't interested in puppets who love Him with a fake love.  He wants real love from His real creation--us.  That's why He gave us free will.  Why is there evil in the world?  Because too many are enticed away by the devil to choose Satan's lifestyle and corruption.  It's our choice and has always been our choice to invite God into our lives or send Him away.  But if this country continues to send Him away, don't expect to be blessed.  Stop singing God bless America and turning around and locking Him out of yet some other part of our society.  We've locked Him out of far too much already.  It's time to open those doors, admit we were wrong, and invite Him back.

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