Friday, December 21, 2012

On Faith, Adversity, 26 Lives And Why

On Monday Decemeber 17th, two families met on seperate occassions.  Both families were embraced by loved ones.  They listened to music.  They listened to preaching.  They shared memories.  They were at funerals.  One funeral program reads Jack Pinto. Age 6.  "A Brave Boy."  Noah Pozner's family described him as "smart as a whip."  He called his twin sister, Arielle, his best-friend.  She lived because someone made a decision to put her in a different class at the beginning of the year.

Why did this have to happen? 

Ana Grace was one of 20 students killed. Her family wanted people to know their beloved little girl was "a child devoted to Christ." Charlotte Bacon, 6, was wearing a new pink dress and boots to school. The last outfit she would choose in this life.  Jack was a Giants fan. Receiver Victor Cruz wore his name on his cleats and gloves Sunday in his honor.  He was buried wearing Cruz's jursey.  Noah's Aunt asked of talking to her nieces and nephews, "How do you tell them that's how their brother died?"

Grace McDonnell was 7. She loved art, gymnastics, soccer and her dog 'Puddin'.  Her grandma said "I think everybody should know about these beautiful children whose lives were cut short." 

I agree.  I pray we never forget the lives of all children wherever they are cut short by violence.

I saw someone post on Facebook.  "Where is God in Newtown?"

Earlier this year in Syria video captured a father holding his 5 year old child.  It looked like he was sleeping but the tears in that father's eyes told a different story.  The boy was dead.  Killed in a mortar attack by the Syrian army.  The man wasn't even a rebel, part of the opposition.  He asked over and over, "Why?"

Sunday a CBS anchor asked a guest, "Why did God let this happen?"

This is not the first time someone in their hour of need has asked such a question.  It is often in our trials that we feel the most alone but never once has God abandoned us.  That designation belongs to the Son.  Matthew 27:46 reads  "אלי אלי למה שבקתני" ie. Eli Eli lama sabachtani" which is to say, "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?  Jesus Christ, the greatest of us all, has descended below it all so that He might understand.

This mortal life of our was designed to be a test.  To prove us and see what we would choose in even the most horrible of circumstances.  Would we be godlike or not?  Would we follow Him or not?  The Savior of ALL Mankind has his hand stretched out to us and invites us to walk with Him.  "Wherefore say unto the people, Choose ye this day to serve the Lord God who made you.  Wherefore my spirit is upon you therefore all thy words will I justify.  And the mountains shall flee before you and the rivers turn their course and that shalt abide with me and I with you, therefore, walk with me."

The road He traveled was not an easy one.  Yet He allowed his tormentors to persecute Him in so terrible a fashion because He loves us.  That torment caused God, the Greatest of All to suffer and bleed from every pore and desire not to partake of the bitter cup.  But He did partake and because of that, Glory be to the Father, we may all be clean and we may yet live again.

This life is not the end.  Our spirits are immortal.  The same socialities and relationships that we have in this life will continue with us into the next.  My brother Tanner died when he was just 2-years-old.  That was more than 15 years ago yet I am still Tanner's brother as he is mine.

These 20 little children, they will live again.  And when they died their spirits were taken straight home to that God which gave them life.  For blessed are the children for they are innocent before God and have no need of repentence, since they have no need of repentence they have no need of baptism.  All children who die before the age of accountability are saved in the Kingdom of God, and are joint-heirs of Christ.

Where was God?  Weeping.  Comforting.  Bringing a few dozen of His little children home.  He has engraven us upon the palms of His hands.  A father or mother would sooner forget their child than God would forget us.

I work in the news.  I'm not blind.  There is much that is evil and wrong in the world.  Mothers, fathers, teachers, a President, a nation and even God weep because of the choices of one invidividual on Decemeber 14, 2012.  Those choices were evil.

Why does God allows His children to make evil choices?  Because that's what Christ died for.  That's what His sacrifice was all about.  Jesus gave us a choice.  Here on Earth during this mortal test of ours we can decide where we want to go.  Do we want to follow Him or not?  Do we do good or not?  Do we go to Heaven or not?  Our choices here will determine where we go because sinners will not be comfortable in the presence of God.  We will go where we feel most comfortable.  If that is in the joyous presence of God or as far from Him as we can get.  Bad things happen.  Sometimes they happen as a Divine punishment but more often they happen because there are horrible people who do even more terrible things. 

Their choices do not define us.  It is our own.  While there is so much evil in the world there is also much that is good.  The twitter hashatag #26Acts is proof.  Kristen Beart wrote, "@kbeard137
donated to New England Equine Rescue in memory of Jessica Rekos who loved horses".  Another man tweeted, "@JRBuckley68 Act #4: Paid for the toll for 26 cars behind me on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge " and again someone else "@bdub969391
Paid 4 Breakfast for the first 26 cars in the drive thru after 9:30 at - match me please $130 - ".  The world is so full of beautiful.  I have faith in humanity.  I have faith in God.  Some may call my faith a crutch that allows me to hobble along through adversity.  I call my faith wings that allow me to rise up and be more than I could be alone.
Today during my morning newscast Kurt Bestor sang "Prayer of the Children" as a tribute to those beautiful little children.  While he sang video of the children played.  Little smiling face after little smiling face echoed across the screen.  May such prayers be answered is my prayer.  Blessed are the children for of such in the kingdom of heaven.  So tragic, so terrible yet death is not the end.  Their families will see their smiling faces again.
This Christmas season I pray that we all may receive the comfort we need, that we may see the light that shines out from the darkness, that we spread the love of God to all man.  May God bless us and keep us and may we all find the courage to allow Him to do so.

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