It is often easier to be happy and content in our own little world than it is to acknowledge what is going on around us. Even if our own world is not a “happy” world, it is still our world and we often desire for everyone else to recognize it. This is kind of where I found myself this past Sunday on my birthday. Sunday morning found me eating sausage, eggs, and biscuits at a hotel in front of the news listening to the shooting that had occurred just hours before in Florida. It would be Monday before I comprehended or understood the whole event and even today don’t fully grasp what took place. It would be Monday before I knew there was even a person named Christina Grimmie who was a Voice contestant/winner and Christian singer. At that time, I would hear she was murdered while signing autographs after her concert. Then a two-year-old attacked and drowned by an alligator. Oh, the social media and political comments have been in an uproar this week all the while my own soul lost in the flurry trying to make sense of it all. Maybe you too have been trying to sort out the truth from the lies and how it is you are to respond to such evil. But, how you might think God wants you to respond might be quite different than how you are thinking.
Returning a 15-passenger van on Monday to the rental company, the radio program was in the middle of their news update. After a segment on the Florida massacre, another report was given about Christina Grimmie’s death. As I half-heartedly listened, my ears were opened to the following statement (keep in mind that I couldn’t pull over and write it down exactly so you will just have to take my memory of it).
In this day and age, anything and everything that happens in the world is posted instantaneously to the internet for the world to see. It is this instant access to news that lends itself to an attitude that does not allow an appropriate time for grieving.
Wow. As the social media and the news continued to be infiltrated with the Orlando shooting I suddenly found myself acting as if what happened in another state had nothing to do with me nor did it affect me at the present moment. This is dangerous. I have had crazy things of my own to deal with this week and yes, God definitely cares about me and what is going on in my own little world. However, He also wanted me to look a little farther with His eyes. Two days after the shooting and one day after the radio report, God’s Word and His sovereignty had me read the following:
“If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited. Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we didn’t know about this,’ won’t He who weighs hearts consider it? Won’t He who protects your life know? Won’t He repay a person according to his work?” Proverbs 24:10-14
Difficult time? Limited strength? Save those stumbling? Repaid for my work? This is hard stuff to swallow. Especially if our world is only within the confines of the four walls we live in and the door is never opened. So what are we to do in this difficult time we are living? How do we rescue those being taking off to death and stumbling toward the slaughter?
Truth and Grace
We cannot remain with our head in the ground and ignore the world around us. We must have our head in the Word of God and allow Him to give us His eyes of compassion to those around us. Then He will give us the strength and the plan He has for rescuing His children and keep them from stumbling towards the slaughter. I have had the book, Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor: Being Friends in Grace and Truth by Glenn T. Stanton, in my possession for almost a year or maybe more. It was now time to open it up and read. I’m not quite that far into it, but what I read the past two days has had an impact on how I am to process the current news. The realization that God has each of us living in this particular day and age for “such a time as this” has been brought to the forefront. Stanton uses the All-American game of baseball to illustrate the position that we as believers in this church age are to play.
“To be honest, when I consider that I am part of this generation, facing these unique and important challenges, it scares me. It is like realizing you are now the adult and you can’t rely on your parents to bail you out anymore. You’re the one in the batter’s box. The pitcher is throwing his best heat at you! You’ve been chosen to go to the plate because the manager for some crazy reason, thinks you have what it takes. You can’t ask him to put in someone else. You better have that quiet confidence needed for the task. But sometimes the challenge seems too great, too demanding, too difficult. But here we are, on the field at this moment in time, and the cavalry is not going to come and step in. We are the cavalry! We must have faith in the One who saw fit to put us here according to His great timing” (Stanton).
He continues with a look at how the game is to be played. What is the calvary supposed to do? Simply live in grace and truth.
“God, in His infinite and sometimes hard-to-follow wisdom, has ordained that we be the ones on the stage of His church at this time. We are the mothers and fathers of the faith that coming generations will look back upon. Will they look back at us in admiration and appreciation or disdain and disappointment for how we lived out and passed on our common faith in our age? I think it comes down to whether we lived in both grace and truth…Truth without grace is abusive and grace without truth is mere sentimentalism. The two cannot exist without each other. And we must walk in this balance in the spirit of Christ our Lord. That is what we are called to in this age” (Stanton).
Walking in balance. Walking in grace and truth. How is that done?
Again God’s faithfulness in abiding in Him and His Word brought me to this passage yesterday morning:
“And now brothers, I know that you did it in ignorance, just as your leaders also did. But what God predicted through the mouth of all the prophets–that His Messiah would suffer-He has fulfilled in this way. Therefore, repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:17-19
Ignorance. We as Christians can no longer stay in that position. The 9th inning is upon us and we must acknowledge God will do what He says He will do. He will save sinners and He will judge those who deny Him. This reality should spur us on to repent of our own sins so that we might be refreshed and enter into His presence. It should spur us on to share with those around us the truth of the gospel message so that they too can be refreshed.
Our hearts should be those of Christ Jesus, who loved unconditionally in truth and grace.
Hearts of Christ who did not segregate who He shared the gospel message.
Hearts of Christ that are willing to die.
Hearts of Christ who mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice.
Hearts of Christ that pray without ceasing.
This is what we do in a difficult time when our strength is limited. We cling even harder to the cross of Christ and stand firm on the rock of our salvation to proclaim the good news of Christ to the world at our door.
Post/Tweet this today:
This is what we do in a difficult time when our strength is limited. We cling even harder to the cross of Christ and stand firm on the rock of our salvation to proclaim the good news of Christ to the world at our door. #faithstepsjourn #truthandgrace #heartsofchrist #worldatourdoor
Christina Grimmie – In Christ Alone