In the Beginning / At the End
This has been a season of crazy happenings, would you agree? I walk into other people's homes to do some nursing care, and I hear on the television:
- Two busses carrying youth from a church here in town to the Atlanta airport to catch a flight to Africa for a mission trip end up with one of the busses in an accident that kills one and injures most of the rest who were on that bus;
- President bashing, stories of questionable truths and stories so twisted that we don't know what to believe;
- Crimes of hate;
- Criminals caught and then police accused of using (unnecessary) force;
- Bridges blown up;
- Night clubs and concerts bombed; and then,
- (Try to) Have a good day.
It seems the stuff never ends - at least, not on that news channel. I wonder what would happen if the newscasters took just one day (maybe two, since no one would comprehend what happened for just one day) to talk only positively of things that were going on in the world. Surely there is something that is good.
Why do we emphasize the perceived wrongs, especially in newscasts, that just continue to stir up hatred, fear and prejudice, when most of us could do without the negativism, especially starting out so early in the day? And why harp on the same old stuff, over and over, again, ad nauseum? (I've always wanted to use that phrase)
Certainly, we know there is evil in the world - it seems to abound more than what is good. Certainly, there are those who would have us believe that what makes us different, makes it okay to hate. And certainly, there are those who hear this every day in their homes before they leave for school or work, and it affects attitudes, outlooks and actions.
When I think about my children, I am thankful that they have God in their knowledge base. I am glad they will pray, without hesitation or fear, out loud and say what's on their hearts. I don't think I ever did this as a four-year-old,
but when my daughter was four, she said, "Mommy, I'm going to pray (She also says, "Mommy, I'm going to sleep, now," and she doesI) - Dear God, please love everyone in the whole wide world, even when we do bad things."
Why am I glad they have God in their knowledge base? Because in the end, I won't be able to get them into Heaven. I can only train them in the Word and Will of God in the beginning - right now, while we're still alive, together and have been given this time. We don't know what is going to happen within the next minute, hour, day or year. We anticipate we'll have that time, but do we really know? And if something were to happen that would take me away from these children, or if something were to happen to them - bus accidents, car bombs, blasts, kidnapping - would I be devastated? You could bet I would be. I have a feeling I would be ranting and doing whatever I could to - what? Change the circumstances? Take revenge on the bad guys? I'm sure that would go well. . .
So in the end, we cannot save ourselves. We cannot save our children. We cannot control the uncontrollable. We cannot get rid of the evil.Fortunately, we don't have to. As Christians, we know that God has the power to save us - it's His gift to us. "By grace are you saved, through faith, not of yourselves, so that you cannot boast. It is a gift of God."
Have you opened your gift and accepted that God sent His Son into the world to work this gift for us so that we don't have to fear what man can do to us - the accidents, the wrecks, the devastation of bombs, kidnapping, murders? Have you shared this gift with your children so that they can believe and not have to be concerned about the evil in the world?
When I die, I don't want my children to wonder if they'll see me in Heaven. I don't want them to feel there is no hope or no point in living. If my children die before I do, I want to be reassured that they knew their Savior, that I taught them well and that God grew them in their faith, kept them in that faith, and now has them in Heaven with Him for eternity.
Love your children. Give them what they need - God's stories and His Word from the Bible - the good news that Jesus died on the cross, and rose again, to take away their sins and give them life and salvation for eternity. Arm them for the terrors of this life. Give them what they need now.
From the beginning to the end - that's love.