Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Take: 1 of 6 things I wish I wouldn't have heard after the Sandy Hook massacre

When I first began a studying the book of Revelation several years ago, I wasn't a Bible scholar so I just simply asked God to reveal to me what He needed me to see. As I read each seal, each trumpet, each bowl, each judgment... I thought how awful! How horrible of a world to live in! Then, I began to notice that instead of those things opening people's eyes to the truth, they would shake their fists at God and dig their heels in deeper and refuse to repent.

It made absolutely no sense to me why people would choose to respond that way when instead they could be on God's team and also have God on their side. Why would they choose to keep reaping harsher judgments when they could be forgiven and set free? How would they dare be so cold as to shake their fists at the very God who created and loved them?

As I was sitting there so deep in thought begging God to help me understand, a vision of the world around me flashed through my head. At that time there had been an earthquake or something and the world was mad. I continually heard people blame God and make statements such as, "How could God? or "If there is a God..."

I looked down at my Bible and re-read the words of Revelation 16 that had triggered my initial thoughts,

9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory...
they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 

11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds...

21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great."

The truth hit me hard! That horrible world I was seeing was the world I was living in! Those things happening were happening right in front of our faces! The Christians I had learned from up until this point had missed something... something big!

Here we were deep into the tribulation; yet, the "church" had not been "raptured". (At least not as it had always been taught to me but that's a whole different subject too deep and complex to go into in this blog.) Here believers were right along side of unbelievers going through the thick of it! People had always envisioned it to go down a certain way, fluffy clouds and people disappearing and those ingrained beliefs kept them from being able to see it taking place right in front of their faces! 

From that day on, I haven't had anything involving this subject hit me that hard... until today. The recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has caused quite an uproar. When I was much less experienced Christian, I used to share the knowledge that I had received from God openly. However, by now, I've learned that just because God shows it to me or gives me understanding doesn't mean that the unbeliever, or even Christian, next to me is ready to hear or receive it. I've learned to pick my battles and keep my mouth shut unless I know for sure that God wants me to open it. I've learned that not everybody receives revelation the same and while one person may need or desire the information, another can be set back by it so you need to be careful to follow the Spirit. I've learned some important things not to say when disaster strikes and most importantly to try not to make anyone feel a way I wouldn't want to made to feel if something like that happened to me. 

So, when I first came across a blog that had been shared on facebook titled, "My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre", I actually agreed with a lot of what the author had to say to an extent. In fact, I personally have learned that even if any of numbers 1-5 could possibly be true (which at times they can be at at other times may not be depending on the circumstances but only God knows for sure when they are and aren't), right after a tragedy is definitely not the time to bring them up and especially not to already hurting people. However, when I got to number 6... 

The first 2 paragraphs were some facts on a topic that has good points that could go either way mixed with some degrading opinions toward believers hat had been subtly given off throughout the whole thing; but, the last paragraph...

"If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero. 

...might as well have slapped in the face. It was if I had gone back in time nearly 7 years and was sitting there reading the book of Revelation asking God to reveal the truth or the future which is so obviously my present. If Stephen, or any other believer, wants to shake their fists at God after going through such horrible things then by all means go for it; but, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And, if they see that as diminishing the idea of God or cheapening faith, I'd still rather be in my shoes than theirs.

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