un temps pour pleurer . . . un temps pour se lamenter . . . Ecclésiaste 3: 4
Since November, when 130 were killed and over 350 injured in Paris, the place names have changed, as have the faces, but the narrative is similar. There have been over 6,000 lives lost or affected as a result of terrorist assaults, attacks or bombings in these past four months. There isn't a single place on the web where the figures are updated with sufficient regularity and accuracy to give a count as of this moment because they're happening so often, because those injured die later and are unaccounted for, because in some cases, the locations and circumstances make determining whether it was terrorism or civil unrest difficult.
On November 14, 2015, I wrote about "Zeal and Grace in France", and the evil I spoke about then erupts out of the same festering, rotten-smelling pool as before -- the blood of Adam that flows through you and me. More importantly and with all the weight of God's character confirming the promises of Scripture, the same blood of the sinless Lamb of God is effective in converting lives and transferring souls from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. There are political arguments that I lean toward that reject political correctness, that pursue policies that protect the vulnerable -- which in this case means anyone not accommodating ISIS, whether Christian, Jew, or Muslim. I wish to preserve a world where my children can freely worship God and serve Him within a marketplace that lets them explore their skills and gifts and put them to use benefiting the community and glorifying God.
However, none of this has legs outside of the framework of God's sovereignty over time, land, nations, peoples and individuals. He is always moving His image bearers in physical and geographical ways as well as in spiritual and eternal ways, and what is happening in the world right now is no exception. But lest this sounds like God is nothing more than a cosmic puppeteer or a master chessman, His acts were determined before the foundation of the world and are all for the sake of His own, His people, those He's called and saved and set apart for eternity, for His glory and their preservation.
In the wake of these attacks, hawks and doves debate and strategize, and snakes and vultures swoop in to deceive and devour the survivors. An image emerged after the attacks in Paris that said: "Friends from the whole world, Thank you for #prayforparis, but we don't need more religion! Our faith goes to music! Kisses! Life! Champagne and Joy! #Paris is about life!" Chalk drawings in Brussels call for love, peace and solidarity between all faiths. Talking heads promise money to educate the hate out of the attackers. Confidence in the belief that tolerance and harmony will save humanity is surging, especially in these embattled lands and threatened nations.
Only a complete and world-changing transformation of the soul can bring peace and salvation, and only Jesus can do that. Here it is in a nutshell from what I wrote after Paris:
The world appears to be in chaos, and yet, according to Christian missionaries to Muslim peoples, conversions to Christ are happening by the thousands in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
It applies to the Ivory Coast, to Nigeria, to San Bernadino, to Syria, to Brussels, and to tomorrow's landscape of terror and sorrow. This is God's glorious work of redemption and it runs contrary to human sense or wisdom. Even if it requires horror and terror and agony, He will gather His own. But God will not be replaced by a moralistic, passionless religion of harmony and peace "and kisses". He is not stirred by scratchy images of chalk messages promising false peace, one drained of His blood and sacrifice. Any virtue or righteousness crafted by man is despicable in His sight because it denies the sufficiency of the righteousness imputed by Jesus, His Son.
A mob can look ugly and angry -- we know what that looks like and we are quick to steer clear and repudiate it. A mob can also persuade through fuzzy philosophies, guilt-inducing labelling, and appeals to harmony and unity -- which deceive a people into self-righteousness and leave them complacent and unmoved by gospel calls. I pray we learn to detect these tactics. The sole guide to the problems of man is God's Word. Period. The singular solution is Jesus.
* * * *
Zeal and Grace in France
People with no hope, no freedom, no grace, no forgiveness, doing the only thing they know to do: use violence and terror to impose the same brokenness on others. They are brutal and merciless, but what they are not is outlaws. They are following a law, the law of moralism as dictated in their religious and civil code. And according to the system set up to interpret that code, all infidels are to be put to death at the command of the high priest.
One of the most promising adherents of this ruthless interpretation of the code was Saul of Tarsus. Oh, did you think I was talking about other violent terrorists?
The Phariseeism of the first century that inspired Saul had at its root the same philosophy that drives the Islamic State and its sidekick strains of virulence. The young aspirant to the ruling class of religionists of his day found great satisfaction in a righteousness achieved by ticking items on a list, a form of moralism -- faith in rules by which he believed he would be able to attain access to the presence of God.
And yet, this guy Saul was extreme. Perhaps there was psychological pathology to it for him. Haters of God abound, but who could so casually stand by and witness the execution of the first Christian martyr, collecting and holding the garments of the executioners, and not be sickened but a man who was deeply disturbed, driven by the bloodthirstiness of it?
* * * *
Read the rest of this article here.
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
2015-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to #thereyougothinkingagain, lauraenglandmiller, or Laura E Miller with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.