Why Are We Where We Are?
I wrestled with whether or not to write this post, or even how I would write it. I thought I was at a loss for words, until the words came pouring out.
Here we are once again on the heels of yet another tragedy—within thirty minutes no less of where most of us live—with the previous tragedy in Nashville still fresh in our minds and in our hearts.
Or is it?
Normalcy is our comfort zone. We’re safe, we’re strong, we know what to do in normalcy, and we eagerly rush back to it, whatever it may look like. And we seem to do a pretty good job of it.
Maybe too good a job.
What do we consider to be normal anymore?
At any given moment we turn on the television or scroll through our feeds and we’re bombarded with yet more horrific news and widespread hate throughout our society.
And it’s become our normal.
I was asked when it happened if I had heard about the shooting in Louisville. My response was “yeah, that’s so sad.”
That’s become my normal.
A simple response to an evil action. If I’m honest, I’m quite ashamed of my response. But it’s now so frequent, that it’s so normal.
My prayers for the families affected felt redundant. Rehearsed. I felt ashamed.
It’s hard for me to watch the news anymore. I really haven’t for some time now. I understand the importance of knowing what’s going on in the world, but so much of it saddens me that I just can’t force myself to do it. I did however—credit to social media—come across the photos of those who lost their lives in the recent tragedies, as I know most all of us have, and that’s when perspective changed for me.
I began to imagine the faces of my family in place of the ones I was staring at. Tears filled my eyes.
The pastor’s family in Nashville.
That could very easily be my child.
The young father in Louisville. That could very easily be me or my wife.
Reality strikes with intent.
A morning full of life, laughter, love, a family intact, only to have morning goodbye hugs and kisses be the last memory. An evening now filled with tears, shattered hearts and an empty bed they will never return to.
Tears fill my eyes as I write this.
Many of you have been faced with this reality. My heart aches and grieves for you. For your pain, for your hurt. There are no amount of hugs or I’m sorry’s that will take that pain away. Stay strong, hold fast to Jesus. Your bravery to continue on is commendable and inspirational.
We highly underestimate the finality of time. Yesterday is now but a myth. Once time passes it’s done. Gone. It’s now dust. We’re one day, one hour, one minute, one more second closer to becoming the dust we came from.
For those of us who are believers, we long for Heaven, our eternal home and our soul’s final destination. Some days our arrival seems it can’t come soon enough. The beauty of that day is incomprehensible to our humanistic minds, but even amid all the chaos of this world, I believe there is still beauty to behold upon this earth. As wicked as we are, God still created it after all, and He created you.
And maybe we got everything we could out of yesterday. Maybe we lived with abandon for Jesus, managed our time well and spent it with the people that mattered. But then again did we?
1 John 2:15-17 tells us…
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
How far away from these things we believe we are as Christians, but oh how close to our hearts their reality often lives.
Most often it takes a heinous, evil act for us to begin to think about the priorities in our lives. How sad. Our spouses, our kids, our time. Then how quickly we fall back into our regular routine, only to keep repeating the same cycle, followed by the question…
Why are we where we are?
I’m sure there are plenty of good arguments as to why we are seemingly at the peak of brokenness. Why there is so little regard for human life, and why there are so many things deemed acceptable in the world that plainly goes against the will of God and His word. The answer is indeed a simple one, yet somehow we’re continually astonished at the evil in this world, asking…
Why are we where we are?
On Wednesday nights the attendance sheet for our men’s Bible study lists my name as the leader. A title in which I am severely under qualified to occupy, especially in comparison to the men that attend our study. This question, or topic, has been discussed and prayed about frequently during our time over the last two months, with one of our extremely intelligent, knowledgeable, gifted and Godly attendees speaking on the plainly visible answer.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. - Romans 1:18-25.
The evil kingdom is firing on all cylinders right now, barreling down the tracks full steam ahead. Satan and his lies are running wild.
The truth of God is exchanged for a lie. What is the lie?
That there is no truth in God. And the lie is believed.
Therefore we are now under the wrath of evil. Everything is stemming from the wrong source. The source of evil and lies instead of the truth.
Insert 1 John 2:15 again.
Evil fears the truth, so it spreads the lie. The lie is believable, enticing, and easily conforming. Those under the lie are opposed to God and they rebel against His kingdom. What remains are the final verses of Romans chapter 1.
“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” - Romans 1:28-32
And here we are!
A depraved mind is one that doesn’t accept reality and cannot decipher between it and fantasy. Insanity takes hold and the lie becomes the master. There’s a quote that says “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” Pretty telling of our world.
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” - John 8:44-47.
Those under the lie have no capacity to hear the truth.
The sad reality is that many of whom you witness too and share the gospel with will never accept it. Does that mean we stop witnessing to them? Absolutely not. We are commanded to go and make disciples. The last time I checked the man named Jesus that I put my faith in still performs miracles, transforms hearts and brings the dead back to life.
It feels more imperative now than ever for those of us who are saved and claim to follow Jesus, that we understand the importance of living that out on a daily basis. Satan's lies are everywhere, and our children desperately and urgently need the truth of God lived out in front of them and spoken to them. To me that means being satisfied in our walk with God is unacceptable.
Our children need to be fed the truth. Our neighbors, co-workers, friends, acquaintances, even ourselves. We are all fed something daily. You’re either fed good fruit or bad fruit. If we as Christians don’t equip ourselves with consistent worship, prayer, Bible study and servanthood, then how can we expect to help equip others in the truth, especially our children.
Or do we even care enough?
Children are more intelligent than we often want to give them credit for. They watch us intently even when we don’t realize it. They quickly learn and become accustomed to what matters to us. They see what we choose to spend our time on. What we deem to be our top priorities.
And they take notes.
Why? Because they want to be like mom or dad. If mom and dad aren’t living out their lives completely in the truth of God, then the fence you attempt to build around your children is one of the chain link variety where there will be an abundance of holes for the father of lies to enter through.
The world is reaching for our children. It’s throwing things at them at a far more rapid rate than we can, and it’s crucial that we as parents be on top of our game. We have to choose intentional parenting and reinforcing Biblical truth.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” - John 14:6
You cannot get to the Father through your own made up version of what you want Jesus to be, or what you want Him to tolerate. Only through the Jesus of scripture will we be saved.
You won’t always get it right. It’s impossible.
I may not always get it right, but I’ve been made right through Jesus.
That’s the truth I want to live out, not only for myself but for my children and for the world around me.
By: Zach Shaw