Wallowing in this depressing media
Death, and violence, sometimes intertwined, have always been with us.
On this day, we acknowledge two solemn events. One, the natural passing of a great woman, national political leader, and the Defender of the Faith of the Church of England. The other, a sudden, unexpected, tragic assault upon OUR nation where 2977 were slaughtered, and hundreds if not thousands have died from diseases associated with fallout from and cleanup of debris after.
In his letter to the Hebrews 9:27, Paul tells us that it is appointed to men once to die. This is the result of the sin of Adam and Eve, in the garden. Many years after that sin, the Bible records the first act of violent bloodshed causing death in man.
Death, and violence, sometimes intertwined, have always been with us. We look out at the world reading newspapers or magazines, viewing television, desktop or laptop computers, or that handheld computer we call a cell phone, or we listen to radio programs, or podcasts, and we learn of death and violence in other countries.
The ability to know what is happening around the world within a few moments can be both a blessing and curse. We can join a celebration of marriage, baptism, or just dinner with family and friends with programs like Facebook, Zoom, Google, and more. We can also learn of great misery and pain within seconds.
We can travel to the far reaches in hours, instead of months. Diseases migrate quickly around the world. It took nine months for COVID-19 to spread from China in late 2019 to the United States Whitehouse in early October 2020. Contrast that with the course of the bubonic plague of the 1300’s. “The Plague” was first reported in Europe, in Crimea, in 1346. It took two years to reach the British Isles in June 1348, and just over another year to reach the Scottish border in Autumn of 1349.
Russia invaded Ukraine February 24 of this year. The United States sends the first round of aid in March. During our Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin set sail for France on October 26, 1776. It was not until February 6, 1778 that France signed the Treaty of Allegiance to provide aid.
We are constantly bombarded with such negative, and overwhelmingly depressing information it is no wonder we view the world in shades of black. Like the Lil Abner cartoon character Joe Btfsplk we walk around with a rain cloud above our head. We get “down” emotionally.
Christian! Get up!
We are the children of the most high God! We are heirs to the kingdom, and joint heirs with Christ! Why? Why?! Are we wallowing in this depressing media?
Of course this life will be difficult! Of course we are going to see terrible things. We are going to experience pain, trouble, and challenges!
I know, from a lot of personal and spiritual experiences, He is there for us. Always. Always and forever. The minute rice version of my story is I’ve buried three children, I’ve had cheating spouses, I’ve fed my sons with a credit card because I had no cash. My life has not been golden, but it has been good because of HIM! In every low spot I went through, I could call on HIM! Every time I called on Him, He was there.
Christ commands us Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. My fathers house has many rooms. He is going there to prepare a place for YOU! And if he goes he is coming back and take us to be with him! [John 14:1-4]
Whether this will be at the rapture, or at the moment we take our last breath, I cannot tell you. I do not know.
This is a message so many unbelievers, and those who have lost their way need to hear. Not my story, but OUR stories. Our testimonies. There are people struggling with life that need to hear how we overcame similar challenges, with the help of the Lord. Yes, people need clothes, and food, and shelter, and Christ tells us to help them. All of that is for naught if we do not share our testimonies, because they receive the tangible, but learn nothing of the intangible.
Mark asks what does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul? I know an old shirt and pair of pants isn’t the world, but Mark’s point is clear.
You may think, “Well, Robin, you talk a good line but you have no idea what I am going through.”
True. I do not know the exact details of your struggles. I know that in my own struggles with the death of my children, finances, and depression that Jesus has not yet failed me. I know that following my son’s suicide, when I could not keep my chin up any longer, at the moment I hit my knees and cried to Him, “I can’t do this anymore! I need Your help Lord!” He was there, He had never left.
I would love to tell you more about that story. I would love to share with you the struggles I went through, as well as my family, as my son traversed the courts, was held for a year in a Boston jail just to have charges dropped, spent months in a program for youthful offenders in Greenbrier County, only to have him commit suicide six weeks after coming home.
I would love to tell you about my premature daughters, their deaths, and burials. How, as a teenaged wife of an Army PFC, I drove myself to the Army hospital where I would give premature birth to one daughter, hold her lifeless body in the recovery room, and arrange for her embalming, and transportation from Texas to Cedar Grove, so she could be buried by her sister out Ruthdale, all on my own because the husband was in a six-week course he couldn’t leave.
On my own, but not alone. Because He was with me.
How do we take our light, and hide it under a bushel? By doing so are we not giving the world a false image of Christians? If we do not show the world, whether that world is the entire globe or just our little corner, that Christians go through troubles just like everyone else but we have the power and support of Christ to help us manage why would they seek Him? They can have that with the words of any philosopher. Just hang one of those motivational posters on the wall and all will be fine.
When you find yourself struggling, and you feel you are alone, take a walk, go into your prayer room, just find a quiet place where you can speak freely and openly to the Lord. He will hear, and understand your frustrations and fears. Be honest with Him about your struggle. Then listen for His reply.
Reach out to other believers. You don’t have to divulge details. And you should NOT be asked for them. Prayer warriors only need to know you are struggling. God knows the rest.
Speaking of prayer warriors, how will the suffering people know you are there if you don’t share your testimonies? I don’t mean announcing, “I prayed for six people this week and all six were healed.” No. I mean sharing your testimonies of faith, and offering to pray for others – privately. Reach out to others with a simple, and quiet, “Would you like me to pray for you?”
While you may be wondering what this has to do with the passing of Elizabeth, and the remembrance of September 11, 2001 it is this: Death will come to us all. Maybe expectedly and serene, or unexpected and violent. Christ is always there for us as we struggle “through” or “with” death. We must put our faith in Him, and share it with others so they may, too be helped.
Let us remember the words of the Rev. Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury: The Queen “lived out her faith every day of her life. Her trust in God and profound love for God was foundational in how she led her life — hour by hour, day by day. In The Late Queen’s life, we saw what it means to receive the gift of life we have been given by God and — through patient, humble, selfless service — share it as a gift to others,”