Hope in the storm

Hurricane Irma is scheduled to start her run Sunday up the spine of Florida–a State I have many ties to.  It’s a unique display of the destructive chaos of a fallen universe.  I don’t put much stock in leaders who often jump to declare individual disasters as specific judgments from God for specific failures of a group of people.  The Bible certainly confirms He has done so in the past.  And we live in an age literally hell-bent on thumbing our nose at God.  But I believe in this age of Grace we now live since the sacrifice of Christ, these “acts of God” are less often conscious action on His part than they are inaction to stop the built-in consequences of a creation frustrated under the weight of sin.

There are two things to consider here from God’s view.  First, the world increasingly rejects anything to do with Him.  Second, times of catastrophe focus us on what’s truly important and necessary far more than do times of calm and comfort.  So rather than seeing God as a cosmic killjoy looking for excuses to hurl lightning bolts at wrongdoers, I believe the better analogy is one of a rejected Lover who has sadly granted our world’s desire to leave His presence and prescriptions, and as a consequence lose His protection as well.

But that’s the “big picture,” so to speak.  The wondrous part of all this is that God doesn’t just deal with humanity.  Or a specific nation.  Or a specific city.  He treats with each of us individually, desiring a personal relationship based on reciprocal love.  This is unlike any “religious” conception on earth: the Creator desiring individual communion with His created.  Despite humanity’s sinful nature He cares for us and hears us — our needs, wants, fears, and confessions.  Just this week a family I know was stranded far from home with a broken car well after business hours.  Yet God answered their pleas for help with an amazing turn of events that brought the right people (including an off-duty mechanic) and provided the resources to get them safely on their way again.

So in the midst of the storm; in the midst of the effects of the rule of this present darkness, we all have the privilege to seek shelter through prayer in the love of the Father, made possible by His Son, Jesus Christ.  It’s not simply a “get out of jail free” card, or some kind of magic spell to ward off tragedy.  No, this presence He offers provides comfort, perspective, and strength regardless of what happens physically:

(King) Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good.  But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

That is the comfort and strength I’m talking about: the confidence to trust God, obey Him, and let Him work all things for the good of those who love HimIt may not be the “good” we think we want.  “Unfair” things will happen.  We may lose our jobs.  Our earthly possessions.  Even our life.  But for those who love God and trust Him, any and all of that pales in comparison to the eternal joy that awaits us when we see Him face to face.

Everyone reading this is facing storms.  It may not be a Category 4 hurricane, but we each have pressures that threaten to crush us.  Know there is a God who cares for you, who is far more powerful than any storm you could face, and who desires what He knows is the best for you.  Ask Him for peace.  For calm in the midst of the storm.  And    *Even If*    it seems the storm has taken everything away from you, know that if your trust is in God you already have everything you need.  There is nothing that can take that away from you.

Nothing.

May the Lord bless and keep us all, according to His good will.

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Blood on their hands

Up front, I’ll note I’m not a fan of Donald Trump.  That said, the concerted reaction to his recent remarks about illegal immigration should be interpreted as a sign that “open borders” advocates realize truth is being told for a change.  For all their talk of compassion, and emotional appeals to images of people just “trying to find a better life,” the reality of illegal immigration all too often includes this:

California woman shot dead at random by illegal immigrant with five prior deportations

More than 100 Citizens of North Carolina Have Been Killed By Illegal Aliens

Illegal immigrant deported 6 times charged in felony hit and run

Illegal immigrants, previously deported six times, kill off-duty Border Patrol agent

Three-Times Deported Illegal Alien Kills Sportscaster In Oklahoma

“Dreamer” convicted of killing two girls spared deportation under Obama amnesty

Our Declaration of Independence says that government exists to protect the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (i.e. the rights to our justly acquired property).  We spend more on “national defense” than the next couple dozen nations combined, and the Federal Government seems determined to create a domestic Panopticon.  Yet we continue to have one of the most porous borders in the world.  That is not an accident.  What’s worse is that a lack of sustained seriousness about this at the national level has encouraged utopianist bleeding hearts at the state and local level to become active accomplices in the process of illegal immigration.  There is no other appropriate term for the now-common practice of declaring “sanctuary cities” that openly state they will not enforce immigration law, or of issuing drivers licenses (a process that should clearly reveal who does not have the privilege of residing in the U.S.).

These policies are DIRECTLY responsible for the death of 32-year-old Kathryn “Kate” Steinle and countless other Americans.  The blood of these victims is on the hands of those who refuse to enforce border security.  Those who blindly follow the emotional appeals of the open invasion borders crowd would do well to remember that charity starts at home, and nothing is more charitable than ensuring one’s fellow citizens are not killed by people who have no right to be here.

As Matt Walsh commented: “Nations that care about their culture, their future, and the safety of their citizens treat immigration with the sort of rigorous, mature, serious scrutiny it requires. But in this country, which is apparently being run by preschoolers in Velcro shoes, we toss law, order, rationality, borders, national security, human life, truth, and assimilation to the side on the grounds that the murderer sorting through your garbage might have happy dreams.”

This issue is but one example of the selective lawlessness and lack of concern for the plight of the average American citizen now displayed by the Federal Government — and by all too many “blue” states and communities as well.  As Bill O’Reilly (another person I’m not particularly fond of) said, the slaying of Kate Steinle by someone deported five previous times, and the failures this represents should shame Congress into action.  Considering the shamelessness of Congress as an institution today, I’m not holding my breath.

When any government becomes destructive of these ends (life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness), it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…”

Leaving children in the cold

“And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold…”  Matthew 24:12

Nothing could be colder than ignoring a child that appears to be in distress:

One little girl was clutching her favourite toy while her younger sister was sucking her thumb – and both looked utterly lost and forlorn.
In a bygone era, a concerned adult might have stopped to ask them where their mother was. But in a damning indictment of modern Britain, hundreds of busy people simply walked on by.
The girls stood for an hour on a Saturday morning in a busy shopping arcade looking for ‘help’, as part of a social experiment for television.
Hidden cameras recorded Uma, seven, and Maya, five, who took it in turns to look lost.
Astonishingly, over the whole hour only one person, a grandmother, took a moment to find out if there was a problem. All of the 616 other passers-by completely ignored the girls.

I don’t care how the passersby rationalized it.  Too busy?  Fear of getting involved?  Worried someone would question the motive?  You would think the instinct to protect and help a child would be the most primal and strongest of all.

You would be wrong.

What have we become?

 

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
— Thomas Jefferson