There is heaviness this morning.
It is a heaviness that began awhile ago, when exactly it is hard to tell. It grew exponentially with the election of 2012. There are bad reports emanating from every corner—the fiscal cliff, Benghazi, Syria, Iran, Gaza, hurricanes wreaking unimaginable devastations and the failure of our government bureaucracy to provide the basic necessities those left in the wake of this storm so desperately need. There are shootings in movie theaters, in malls where families are shopping for Christmas, in every little innocent corner of our country it seems. A heavy dark pall seems to have descended upon our once great nation and yesterday it manifested as a horror so large and so incomprehensibly evil that we are left stunned and speechless. The attempts by the news media to explain this horror in terms of possible childhood traumas or mental illness simply do not apply. Our secular sociological pat answers to every evil act cannot be applied any longer.
We are dealing with blatant, inherent evil. An evil that has been given free reign in a country which was once governed by laws and morals that everyone understood.
I am a believer in the God of the ancient writings by the prophets of the scriptures we call the Bible. I am a believer in the God who never changes—who does not adapt His character to the culture. I am a believer that in these scriptures we find the written, God-breathed Word of God and that these writings apply as much to us today as they did to those who penned them thousands of years ago.
I am a patriot and I love my country, but I do not love my country above my God, and if my country falls, my God will not. My faithfulness is to my God, no matter what else happens in this world. He is the one sure, pure, true truth who promises to never leave those who follow Him. He promises to never fail us or forsake us. I know this to be true; He has brought me through too many trials and grief in my own little world. Now that the bigger world is threatening to implode, He will continue to bring me through.
The heaviness I feel this morning is something akin to what the prophets felt when they were forced to watch their beloved country fall to the enemy. As Jeremiah movingly wrote “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. … Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids. … Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares …” (Jeremiah 9: 1, 18, 21).
More than that, it is the heaviness that God feels when He has been utterly rejected by a nation and is forced to allow the consequences to fall upon that nation. What does God say? “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He weeps over us, be very aware of this—He is weeping over our country now—He does everything He can possibly do to cause us to turn back to Him, but the one thing that ties His hands is our own will—our own volition—our own decision making process which decides between good and evil. Is there a God-given right to choose? Well, yes actually. Curious that those who approve of sacrificing and shedding the blood of enwombed babies would use our own God-given “right to choose” language to support their acts. And America has chosen corporately, with laws and governmental declarations, to reject the God of the Bible—the God our forefathers wrote about and based their decisions for the rule of law that this country would stand upon. And yes, there is a remnant of believers in this country—He has not forsaken His remnant, and He will not forsake us, but the depth of the sin of America in rejecting God, approving of the things He hates, the shedding of innocent blood sanctioned by the laws governing our system cannot be ignored forever by a just and righteous God. He is patient and longsuffering, not willing that any should perish.
There is no happy talk that will heal the wound that ripped open the hearts of the nation yesterday. There is no psychiatric, psychological explanation for it. The “talking heads” of the media and the armchair psychologists cannot possibly address the magnitude of this. This is an act brought about by a supernatural force of darkness that only the Bible has ever defined properly—evil, wickedness, demonic. It is malignant, orchestrated by a real being, who has been given permission by our rejection of God, to bring about his unimaginable horror. We have been playing with this being for a long while—in our music, in our entertainment, in our video games, in our movies and he has lured us into complacency and apathy—telling us through our psychologists and new age happy talkers that there is no such being as a devil.
This being is called a “liar and the father of all lies” in the Bible by Jesus Himself: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me” (John 8:44-45). Jesus never tried to downplay the existence of a being called the “Father of all lies.” Those men and women never tried to brush off the subject of evil with earthly explanations. This father of all lies began to infiltrate this country many years ago by introducing subtle lies, even lies about himself. It was ok with him when our philosophers and psychologists and anthropologists and governmental leaders pooh-poohed the notion of an actual malignant evil being—it served his purpose, it numbed us down and gave us permission to excuse evil with a more sanitized explanation for the unexplainable acts of someone like a Hitler or a Jeffrey Dahmer. Broken home, abusive childhood, bullies in school; medicate them, send them to psychiatric care, examine and explore the earthly reasons for the things they have done.
The lie we have believed, in the Church, is that talking of such things makes us look like the fringe lunatics; it might turn off the unsaved by speaking of such things and so we have ceased to be the force of truth against these lies.
Remember, believing the lie empowers the liar. And we are seeing that power unfold before our eyes. Shedding innocent blood in the womb has now manifested in shedding of innocent blood of twenty little children in an affluent, quiet hamlet where only one violent crime has happened in the last year. The last frontier of innocent America; the perfect place to carry out such an atrocity for the full impact of the shock effect.
And a heaviness and darkness fell like a pall over our nation yesterday morning in Sandy Hook.
For believers, maybe it is time to call for a solemn assembly as they did in the Bible, where they stood as Scriptures were read and they tore their clothes and cried out to their God. The prophets cried out “Oh rend the heavens and come down!” (Isa. 64:1).
Whatever we do, please, please, let us not return to our television and entertainment and apathy. Please, let this bring us to our knees in sorrow so that we cry out to the God we know, as Daniel did:
O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame… O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. … Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.(Daniel 9: 4-10; 17-19).
Amen and amen.