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.
God, DO SOMETHING!
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.