His divinity is kneaded in the clay of your humanity like one bread

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rachel weeping for her children

I rarely post to this blog as a response to every day happenings.  Tonight I felt the need to.  As I was sitting here looking out my window, which looks out on the public square, I was struck by the juxtaposition of our town Christmas tree and the American flag which is at half staff in honor of the horrific killings that took place in Connecticut yesterday.  I, as well as every one else in America and the world, have been deeply effected by the deaths of these innocents and the sacrifice of those who attempted to shield them - often, it seems from the news reports, with their own bodies.  None of us know how we would react in a similar situation, but we would all hope and pray that it would be with the same selfless love.  This is, to put it mildly, a hard thing to deal with.  We have had killings before in this country - dozens of lives taken by deranged individuals such as we saw in the theatre killing earlier this year - but this is different.  These were not only children but little children and somehow that strikes to the core of who and what we are as human beings. 

How could a madman kill children?

Since this horror occured, one scripture has been running through my mind.  It's in the title of this post and I will quote it in full here:

Matthew 2:18  'A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.'

This, of course, is preceded by another verse:

Matthew 2:16  'When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.'

There is nothing new under the sun.  Two thousand years ago a madman took the life of dozens of very small children - babies, really - out of a love of self.  King Herod was a powerful man, but like most powerful men, his power was balanced on the edge of a knifeblade.  Herod lived in a world of treachery where, at any moment, someone might attempt to assasinate him and claim the throne.  In his world nothing mattered but hanging on to the one thing that made him better than everyone else and when the Magi appeared and spoke of a baby promised to the Hebrew nation who would one day be king - well, that was all it took to make him slip over the edge of reason.  Herod had his own children.  Herod had dangled a baby on his knee and watched his son learn to walk, sons and daughters most likely, but at that moment, when his power, when what he desired, when his selfish ambitions and needs were threatened, he struck out and slaughtered dozens, if not hundreds of children.  Matthew doesn't tell us how many died, only that every boy under two years was killed.  We can only imagine how many boys died.  Eight died yesterday in Connecticut along with twelve girls because of another man's love of self.

Rachel is weeping for her children in 2012 for they are no more.

And so we struggle to understand.  People, as always - as they did in Bethlehem, I am sure - cry out, 'God, how can you let this happen?  Why don't you do something?'

I am reminded of something I read in Lee Strobel's 'The Case for Christ'.  In one of the sections Lee talks of speaking with an expert in Biblical studies.  At the end the man related a story to him.  He tells Lee of the time when his wife was dying of cancer.  She was in the house, crying out in pain, and he was sitting on the porch praying and, in a way, blaming God.  'God, why don't you do something?' he kept crying out.  'Why don't you do something?'

It is all our cry after the slaughter of the innocents in Connecticut, is it not?  'God, why don't you do something to stop this, to make this right?'

You know what the man told Lee Strobel, what God's answer was?  It is profound.

I did.  I sent my Son.

There is evil in this world.  It's prince is the prince of darkness.  Christ told us that. 

John 14:30  'I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me.'

'He has no hold on me.'  As Christians, he - the Devil - has no hold on us, for we are Christ's - washed, sanctified, and redeemed by His sacrifice and shed blood.

As the women of Israel did so long ago after their children were slaughtered, we too must look forward to the coming day of the Messiah who will wipe away every tear from our eyes.  There will be no more weeping, no more mourning - no more slaughter of innocents - no more love of self.  We will stand before the throne of the immortal God - a crowd no one can number, of every tribe and every nation - crying 'Worthy is the Lamb!'

Worthy, indeed, and the answer to our anguish and our pain.


I did.  I sent my Son.

May our prayers rise to the Lord most high for those who have lost so much in Connecticut and for all of the lost who are watching how we react to this tragedy.  God is in control.  He will use this to His purpose and His glory....

And to the saving of all souls.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Life is what happens....

                                                         Voyage of Life: Man (or woman) hood

Wow.  Life is definitely what happens while you are busy making other plans. 

The Josiah novel I mentioned a year or so ago still sits on its virtual shelf waiting to be worked on.  Since I last wrote God has continued to bless me and to hone me for that day when I see Him face to face, and you all know how that happens - by living in this world as one of His and dealing daily with everything that comes your way.  Between caring for my elderly mother who is dealing with dementia, shepherding and helping to raise my granddaughter, my work at the historic site, assisting with my husband's consignment shop, repairing dolls, teaching, and about a dozen other things, writing has taken its place on a very far back burner.  (Art too!)  I don't despair.  I have given all to the Lord and it will come back in its season.  Of course, if you are reading this blog most likely you are familiar with Solomon's words of wisdom. I remember them often.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,    
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
'A time to scatter stones and to gather them'.  Are you like me?  Do you often feel like you are scattering stones and that those pesky stones just keep skittering across the ground, bouncing away from you,  remaining just out of reach?  We spend so much of our lives running, running, running.  What was that other thing Solomon said?
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  Ecclesiastes 1:14
Our lives are only meaningless, of course, if we spend them chasing after vain things that turn to dust, or rust, or fade under the sun.  If, however, we seek the eternal and hunger after God and a relationship with His only begotten Son, then we have found our meaning.  As I learn and grow, as I surrender my will more daily to Christ and seek to become like Him, as I pray earnestly to BE Christ's hands and to walk in His footsteps, I find not only purpose but peace.  Years ago I watched the BBC comedy/drama The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  In it, after chasing the wind for a season (through the galaxy and beyond) Arthur Dent finds out from some cavemen that the meaning of life is '42'.  In other words, meaningless.  Chasing after Christ brings something quite different - that is, true meaning to one's life.  The meaning of life, one finds in the end, is to bring glory and honor to God's name.  
So, I have found myself for a time without much self-expression as far as writing, art, etc.  That's okay.  I told the Lord to send me where He would and guess what?  I ended up taking a Nouthetic counseling course  I finished part one and am about to embark on the second session.  And what is Nouthetic Counseling you ask?  It is counseling that believes the Bible is all sufficient and able to give us every answer we need to the human condition.  As it says in Romans 15:14:
"I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and competent to counsel one another."
Nouthetic counseling is all about not leaning on our own understanding, but surrendering to the ONE who has authority over all since He created all.  And isn't that a wonder - the God of the entire universe knows I exist and is using me to further His kingdom.
Wow!  What more could anyone ask?
Anyhow, I plan on getting back to blogging a little more regularly.  I was amazed to see over 2000 people out there had read my meager ramblings.  I pray the Lord uses them in a mighty way to advance His kingdom.
After all, that is ALL that counts.