This blog entry is a long time coming. Since my last entry, I’ve struggled to be inspired (and patient) enough to sit at my computer and type something out… struggled to gather my thoughts to regale anything worth writing and reading. Each time I would ponder possible topics, I would settle on silence, because honestly - I had nothing nice to say.
(I recalled watching Bambi as a child and I was following Thumper’s lead, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”).
So I said nothing.
The “politicking” ad nauseam surrounding the presidential primaries (both ridiculous sides), the recent terrorist events and the gun control rhetoric that resurfaced in the wake of yet another “mass shooting” had left me doddering between fearful and furious, so I stayed silent.
(Apparently we’re up past 300 now?! It’s like we’re living in Norway or something. Or not, depending on how one defines “mass” shooting per capita. http://www.ijreview.com/2015/12/348197-paris-attack-claim-mass-shootings/ )
While silent, I determined to spend more time seeking God and peace … His peace … that is inevitably found in His presence. One evening while reading in Isaiah, I came to this verse;
“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.” Isaiah 37:14
At this point, Hezekiah had already received reassurance from the prophet Isaiah that the Lord would deliver them; “Do not be afraid of what you have heard – those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me…” but now he receives a message from Sennacherib, the king of Assyria himself. It was a terrible message, one that had real potential to again rattle his faith through fear... “will you be delivered??” (vs. 11)… why would God deliver and save you when my forefathers were allowed to destroy “completely” other countries (vs. 12)… where are those kings now? You are as good as dead (vs. 13)
In other words, hey Jerusalem, just like the other 10 fallen tribes of Israel, you’re screwed. God himself is against you and we Assyrians* are the tool He will again use to exact righteous judgment.
I LOVE his response… Without hesitation, his faith resolute, Hezekiah again goes immediately to God and spreads this whole mess out before Him, the King of kings; “Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God” (Isaiah 37:20). God quickly responds through Isaiah, “I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant” (37:35). And so it was that God retained a remnant for His divine purpose.
In retrospect, I suppose that is what I have done (though I’ll admit, not as effortlessly… I’m a slow learner) –these past several weeks, I have turned my prayers to the Creator, to the Most High God, to my Deliverer… and have rested within the peace of His presence.
It seems that we are surrounded by a constant barrage of calamitous messages. These messages threaten our not only our peace of mind, but seemingly our very lives. The President reassures us that although the “threat from terrorism is real … we will overcome it” – respectfully Mr. President, your words provide little assurance. Besides our weakened military presence internationally, here at home we see the anti-gun lobbyist are gathering support to impose yet more restrictions that will (if we follow the paths of other countries) make it unlawful to protect ourselves from all “radicalized” individuals that wish to do us harm. Until we as a nation acknowledge the true source of the radicalization that produces and spews pure hatred in all its divisive forms of race/ethnicity & religions, none will ever truly be safe.
Ruminating on these facts can be overwhelming. In an effort to "not be afraid of what you [I] have heard" this is what I have resolved to do…. When I feel fearful, (besides turning off the TV, radio or twitter feed) I will consistently take my concerns and troubles to God, I will strive to immediately spread this whole mess out before Him, the King of kings.
He alone can deliver us, He alone can bring peace, with Him we need not live in fear (Ps 27:1-3, Isaiah 41:10, Ps 118:6-9).
Dearest Lord, Hope – I need hope. Peace – I need peace. Fill me with your presence and graciously allow me to be a conduit so that others may be filled with that same hope & peace. Amen.
God’s blessing’s in this Holy Christmas Season.