"Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you the say in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"-Luke 2:10-14
I wonder what went through the minds of the shepherds some amount of time after seeing a multitude of angels proclaim peace on earth, only to witness Herod's men come and slaughter all of the baby boys in Bethlehem. I also wonder if they connected the dots that the reason why these young babies- possibly children or grandchildren of the very same shepherds- were violently killed was because the baby they worshiped was born in their town.
Did it make them doubt God?
I just wonder, because I might have. Since then, terrible wars have been fought. Thousands have been martyred, babies are thrown into fire pits and people groups have been kidnapped and treated with unimaginable disrespect for their precious human lives.
Today. TODAY Children are smothered by their own parents if born the wrong gender, sold into sex slavery for the parent's benefit, some are left to starve while the wealthy steal from the poor, families live in fear that they will be shot for saying the wrong things. The number of martyrs increase for the name of that baby that the shepherds believed would bring peace on earth.
Even American children, who most likely come from loving families, cannot be promised security from the disturbed.
This world is beautiful. This world is a huge, terrifying mess.
I will say what many other Christians are saying, It's pure evil. But it's free will.
Jesus didn't bring world peace. He brought peace on earth. He brought the opportunity to have peace on this earth, even when it is a huge, terrifying mess. I'm so glad that He did.
While I was in Thailand about a month ago, I sat, basking in the tropical sun without any children to ask (demand) a favor.... very conflicted. I knew that not very far outside the walls of my comfortable resort were women that relied on prostitution for their income. They were most likely mistreated by men, and at the very least lacking in self respect. Some may have come through the sex slavery, some may even be children yet. (Dear God, even my own children's ages) How many were without hope? How many cried themselves to sleep? And this city was my paradise for the moment. I admit, I had a very nice time.
In my journal that I wrote in next to the pool, I wrote the verse that God gave me to meditate on:
Search me, O God and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in your everlasting way.Underneath, I wrote:
"anxious thoughts and wicked ways are in the same breath."Next page:
"I don't want "peace" to blind my eyes from the hurting. I don't want the trials of those hurting to blind my heart from peace."
On the contrary to the initial state of panic, the Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. So I believe the biggest weapon we have against this terrifying mess is joy. We may not feel it right now, but it will return. Hold on to it when you see it, look for it's opportunities, and bring it to other people's lives.
I love God's Word.
Indeed, we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful- James 5:11
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13