“Why” is such a small word. But, it opens the door to an incredibly big world. When our children are small, they ask us thousands of times, “Why, Daddy?” We have good answers for them, most of the time. When we don’t, we can always resort to the long-standing parental prerogative: “Because I said so.” While our children are still in diapers, this works fairly well.
As they get older, though, children are trying to make sense of this complex world in which we live. Mom and Dad may still know best; but the ole’ “because I said so” routine just doesn’t cut it. Explanations—thorough, practical, and biblical explanations—are needed. We parents do our best. Occasionally, we even come up with “home run” answers. With every “at bat,” we’re just hoping that we don’t strike out. We’ll be quite satisfied simply to advance the base runners.
Then things like what happened today in the mountain town of Bailey, Colorado, thunder into our lives. The Breaking News reports remind us of all the other similar tragedies we’ve watched unfold over the years. They cause us to relive our intense emotions associated with the school shooting at the neighboring community of Littleton in April, 1999. In horror we watch as news choppers give us a bird’s eye view of children being evacuated from their schools and anxious parents rushing to the scene. Everyone listens nervously to the news reports. Images flash before our eyes from a similar scene years ago when a sobbing teenager rakes back her blonde hair with blood–stained, trembling hands and asks, “Why?!” Her question is met with silence. No answer is heard. More tears are shed. The nation watches these tragedies unfold on live television. Millions of “Why’s?!” echo across the land.
Harsh reality is so hard to accept. But, accept it, we must. People living outside of the will of God do horribly wicked things. Our world is a dark, deeply dark, desperately dark, place in which the cancer of sin has metastasized. We’ve tried to pretend that it hasn’t. We’ve called evil good and good evil. We’ve made every effort to sanitize sin, but to no avail. The moral fiber which once held our nation together is frazzled and frayed. The fabric of our nation is coming apart. Our foundations are crumbling. There is no comfort in this, at all. Yet, the reality remains: We reap what we sow. Since we have not thought it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, our nation is reaping a harvest of wickedness and violence.
The instrument of God for culture-wide renewal has always been the people of God. If, however, the people of God are themselves in need of revitalization, who will fan the flames of spiritual renewal throughout the land? 2 Chronicle 7:14 begins with three critical words, which shed much light on the starting place for national revival. God said, “If my people …. will humble themselves…” With whom does revival begin? God says, “My people!” As judgment begins with the house of God (1 Peter 4:17), so also does revival.
If you read the headlines or listen to the nightly news you will be appalled. Philadelphia is just thirty miles from my home. The “City of Brotherly Love” has the distinction of having one of the highest murder rates of the large cities in our nation. It is a violent place! In my estimation, unless our nation makes radical changes this “culture of violence” will only grow worse. The gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, “Why’s?!” will be heard ever more frequently.
I understand completely the difference between this nation which has a Christian heritage and the spiritual kingdom of Christ. America is not the kingdom, any more than Albania is; but, that which happens in both nations has a dramatic impact on the kingdom. That is why I believe that we, as a nation, must humble ourselves and pray and seek the face of God. We need to turn away from wickedness! Then God will hear from heaven and forgive our sin and heal our land. As God’s people, we must lead the way in expressing sincere sorrow for the sin that plagues our land; fervently praying for renewal; earnestly seeking genuine relationships with God and turning from wickedness. Then God will bring revival. He will hear, forgive and heal!
In the meantime, may the prayerful words of the prophet David be in our hearts and on our lips: “O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.” —Psalm 7:9 niv
© Bill Williams, September 28, 2006