I feel like the world changed on Friday November 13, 2015. Yep, I’m talking about the Paris attacks.
We’d just seen bombings in Beirut, and terrorists claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian passenger airliner in Egypt on its way to St. Petersburg, Russia. And while these types of incidents have been on the rise, the recent events have thrown us all into a new world — a scared, divided world.
Every stream in the social media-sphere is littered with opinion, photos, graphic accounts, etc. With the advent of the 24 hour news cycle, we [
think we] know every move, every political angle, military action that is being carried out.
Here in the states, we’re deep into the Presidential Primary Season, and candidates and political parties are using events to spread their “gospel”.
Where just one week before, our biggest social-cultural battle was why Starbucks decided to take “Christmas symbols” off of their holiday cups to wondering how we’d welcome Syrian Refugees if we’d welcome them at all.
We’ve drawn lines in the sand.
You’re either on one side or the other. There is no compromise. No conversation. Just rhetoric that remains divided and ugly. The God that we represent seems to be fractured.
In fact, from the outside looking in, I’d have a hard time characterizing him. We feed the hungry. No, we don’t feed them because they should get jobs. We welcome people into our homes. No, we shut the door because they look different than we do. All lives matter. No, some are superior based on socio-economic standing.
If you want to close the borders, you are labeled a republican crazy. If you want to keep the borders open, you’re a liberal nut-job.
Our bios read, “Child of God” or “Follower of Christ”. We fall trap to the Memes that ask us to “Type AMEN if we agree God is Able” or “Like for a Blessing”.
We “follow” Christ but who HE is based on what we reflect is lost on me.
If I’m being honest, I’ve found myself digging deeper and deeper into God’s word during these days full of strife and confusion and anger and hurt.
I’m searching for God in the noise (aren’t we all). I’m searching for God in the ruble — in the echoes of gun fire, in the bewildered soccer spectators, in the eyes of the rock band as they watched gun-men shooting into the audience. I’m searching for God in the barely eaten dinner on the cafe breeze-way.
I’m searching for God in the lives of the family members who had no idea their cousin or son had been radicalized. I’m searching for God in those without home because to governmental rule of their home country is stifling and life ending. I’m searching for God in the times — these days where we are grasping at anything that may look like hope, whether human made or from God himself.
And I’m asking Him what is it you’d have me do — who would you have me be.
And He answers.
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.”
Titus 3:3-11 NIV
I may not be able to fully contribute to the international dialogue or sit in a meeting with the UN Secretary General, but I can react to these times according to how God would like me to. Love. Make sure that my integrity is in essence in line with the word of God.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what will happen next. I don’t know what we should do about the refugee crisis. I’m confused on a lot of it.
However, I know rather than spewing vitriol, I can pray. I can ask God to have his way and use me in the process. I can love. I can, in the times ahead, preach the Gospel and show people the Way.
Times may get worse, but God will remain. Hallelujah. That’s good news!