Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Awesome Why

In the span of 14 seconds, two loud concussions stilled the jubilant air of the warm spring day and covered it with a blanket of smoke, debris and body parts. Two innocent people, no three, were caught up in the moment and swept away to a place beyond the sights and sound of the Patriot’s Day: Martin, age 8, Krystle, age 29, and an unidentified Chinese national. None of the three had a chance to choose what would become of them, for their lives were taken by a horrific act of cowardly terror.

America has again come under fire from those who would destroy her.

I was out of the country when I heard the news from The Boston Marathon.  The sunny skies and warm breezes of Montreal, Quebec, kept me from being near a radio or television that afternoon. But when I tried to return to the United States, the long wait at the border told me something had happened in America that would make me ask an awesome why of God.

Listen, friend. The Stars and Stripes can’t protect us from the madness that fills some people’s minds and leaks out into acts of heinous impact.  The goodwill of so many of our citizens cannot squelch the insanity that would motivate crimes of hate from the hands of people too self-possessed to realize the harm and cost they were demanding of others whose names they did not know.

Though many miles separated me in Montreal from my fellow Americans in Massachusetts, I was immediately and deeply affected by their suffering.  And a certain sense of bewilderment again came over me as I pondered their fate. So I did what many of you did: I lifted my heart to my Father in Heaven and cried out for His Spirit to comfort those who were mourning the pain, suffering, death and destruction caused by this senseless act of terror. And He was there with them (John 1 4: 16).

The last twenty-four hours have yielded many angles of the Boston story and I’m already weary of seeing the scenes and hearing the screams of the victims. I’d just like to know why someone felt empowered by detonating pressure cookers laden with explosives and sending nails, BB’s and ball bearing shrapnel into the path of tired runners and their well-wishers.  I’d like to get my hands on them and shake them for their cruelty.  But I’ve lived long enough to know I may never receive a satisfactory explanation for my questionings.

So I’ll just do what I did on 9/11: I’ll pray. I’ll ask an Awesome God an awesome “Why?” and then hold steady in the knowledge that He is intimately aware of the matter and will work out a purpose that seems a mystery to deep for me to ever understand.  And I’ll do whatever I can to confront such hatred and act to dispel the kind of violence that drove a lunatic to such extremes. And I’ll borrow the words of Jesus on the cross when He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know not what they are doing” (Luke 23: 34).

Join me now for a moment of silence for our fallen citizens and their families.

Friday, April 5, 2013

My Three Women

Like Jesus, I have known many women who have been a part of my ministry over the years. I thank God for them all, for without them, little would have gotten done in the churches I have served! 

But there are three women who have walked with me throughout my ministry who have blessed me in ways far more meaningful than I can possible write about today. 

Rosalie, my wife. 
Sarah, my eldest daughter. 
And Naomi, my youngest child. 

These three women, wonderful and incredible in so many ways, have walked with me every step of my way and I been been the recipient of their love, support, humor, hard work, counsel and prayers so many times that I have lost track of them all. But I do know that I would not have been as effective as I have been without their unique and godly contribution to my life and ministry.

Rosalie, Sarah and Naomi, I love you more than than words can say and want you each to know just how blessed I know I am because you have shared your life with mine.