Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Praise: An Addendum

When I first wrote the previous blog regarding "praise" there was peace at Virgina Tech. I suppose that on the day I wrote the blog (Sunday April 15th) any number of the students may had gone to church to pray and to give praise to God. I assume that parents of those students may have even done the same in their own home towns across the nation. But 24 hours later...peace was destroyed, and praise silenced, though I know that the prayers continued.

Search as I might for reasons to this tragedy I cannot. Anything I would offer would come like the words of Job's friends and counselors, wrong words at the wrong time. and yet, as a shepherd of a flock of Jesus followers, I long for something to say, some word of hope, that will cause us to once again lift words of praise, and so I too, return to prayer, to the seeking of the God who alone holds the answer.

As I have been pondering this horrendous event I received an email link to an article written by Mark Galli, the editor of Christianity Today. I found it both comforting and challenging. It is entitled, "Peace in a World of Massacre." I encourage you to read it.

May God grant us all His peace as we seek to be the peace-makers we are called to be in Chirst.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Randy,
I read Linda's response to last week's blog and have to add a hardy "amen" to her comments that sometimes our praise "offering" to the Lord is in deed a "sacrifice of priase"...not that our emotions are feeling joyful and giddy with outpourings of praise...but rather from a heavy heart bowed low with any number of things life throws our way that robs us of our JOY but doesn't rob us of our praise to a Sovereign God who is WITH us in our struggle. We praise Him for WHO HE is....for His infinite knowledge of us and what we are going through, that He not only knows...but He is right there with us...holding us up. We praise Him because He knows the end from the beginning....He sees the "big picture". We praise Him that He not only KNOWS...and CARES...but He has the POWER to change THINGS, ATTITUDES,OUTCOMES.

I marvel that we are surprised when tragedies continue to happen. Jesus told us that in THIS world we WILL have troubles,trials and tribulations...BUT...He ALSO said,
"I have overcome the world"!!!!!
Things on earth will continue to get worse...that is a given...we can't search for peace for it isn't "in the cards"! WE need to direct people to the Prince of Peace who can calm the storm within...bring peace to the soul though it buffeted on all sides with the effects of living in a sinful world. WE can praise HIM because we KNOW the end of the story...we KNOW who wins! We look about us and read the news and we THINK that sin and the father of sin is winning! WRONG!!!!! Satan is fighting hard and will fight even harder in days to come because he KNOWS he is losing the battle. That is what makes Easter so full of joy and HOPE...Jesus has already won the battle over sin and death. WE still feel the effects of ongoing warfare...we are often victims of evil because we live in a sinwracked world....BUT...a better day is coming and I hope it won't be too much longer!

WE are going through a very dark valley in our family at the moment and our hearts and spirits are heavy with the concerns as a result. At this juncture it IS from the standpoint of a "sacrifice of praise" that we approach our God. I would have found comfort Sunday if you would have included this important element of praise in your sermon, as I'm sure there plenty of other heavy hearts listening and finding it hard to decipher why they were finding it difficult to enter into praising the Lord for their lot in life. Just to know that we aren't praising Him FOR our circumstances...but for WHO HE is...DESPITE our circumstances at the moment.
Thanks for listening....Ruthie

Anonymous said...

You know the thing that troubles me the most about this Virginia Tech tragedy is that God only know how many other madmen (or madwomen) are walking our streets every day who should be involuntarily committed. The Psychiatrist’s probably never should have allowed Andrea Yates to be around her children unsupervised even for a few minutes or even out in society BEFORE the murders. Some people are sick enough that they need to be hospitalized their entire lives.

When I read things like the article at the smoking gun website:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0419071cho1.html

it is clear that we are not involuntarily committing as many people as we should. I don’t believe it is so much to protect their civil liberties either as it is the fact that we don’t have enough facilities to care for the people in our society who are seriously mentally disturbed.

While some people are glad some mental hospitals were shut down because it saves the tax payers money, I wonder if that tax savings is worth a nation having to endure tragedies like the one at Virginia Tech.

There were people like one of Cho’s professors who tried their best to sound an alarm. When I read the one act play Cho wrote:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0417071vtech1.html (Warning very lewd, graphic, violent content)

I can see why one of his teacher’s was concerned about the things he was writing for class as an English major and why she threatened to quit her job if they didn’t remove him from her class. People noticed. Some of his classmates were afraid of him. He was examined, found to be mentally ill and the only mistake they made was not forcing him into a mental institution.

The question is why didn’t they force him into one, but instead treat him as an outpatient? Could it be because we have a shortage of facilities?

As God is my witness, until a few months ago, I used to ride a bus route every day where some of the people from the nearby state hospital got on and frequently scared the other passengers half to death. I wondered one day why the “gentleman” sitting next to me threatening to kill me because he was convinced I was a member of the CIA following him” wasn’t locked up but instead allowed to roam the streets??? I still wonder.

It’s not just the people they might hurt either. Sometimes, it is just sad to watch someone who is so mentally deranged that they couldn’t possibly make it though a job interview and actually get hired for any job having to resort to sleeping under a bridge, panhandling or digging through dumpsters behind restaurants for leftover food rather than living in a mental institution with a roof over their heads and three square meals a day.

The man that kidnapped Elizabeth Smart clearly had more than a few screws loose before the kidnapping and rightfully should have been institutionalized long before he decided to kidnap her.

In our bending over backwards to protect civil liberties and save tax money, are we allowing mentally ill people to, at best, harm themselves and sometimes harm other people.

I realize that sounds very practical not spiritual, but honestly I think that a merciful God would like to see mentally ill people TREATED mercifully, not barbarically, but TREATED while society is simultaneously protected from the criminally insane.

Anyway, Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

gentledove