The Spiritual Significance of the Tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut


Is this the message we want to send our children?

Is this the message we want to send our children?

The winds of change are blowing swiftly and intensely over America. Our nation is witnessing a series of tragic events that most do not understand. Events such as mass shootings and devastating natural disasters are becoming commonplace, but many barely take notice of these calamitous events unless they are directly affected.

What we are witnessing is exactly what the Bible describes in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

America is full of citizens fitting these shameful descriptions and even worse is that many of them claim to know and love God!

Our pulpits are full of those loving money more than God and who are more concerned about your tithe than your spiritual well-being. Our political and military offices are replete with brutal, proud, war-mongering officials claiming that the innocent lives lost in the wars we are engaged in are nothing more than collateral damage (what a degrading insult!). Our businesses and financial sectors are filled to the brim with despisers of good who invent schemes to enrich themselves at the expense of millions of others. Our youth are increasingly disrespectful to parents and authorities and have lost their fear of God. As a result, many have fallen from the faith and have turned to false religions like Wicca in droves. Our entertainment industry promotes what is vile and shameful, keeping the masses drunk on pleasure while our media promotes lies and distorts the truth to keep the masses ignorant.

Our nation is divided over politics and personalities instead of focusing on real solutions to the grave issues destroying the country from within. We are a nation of hypocrites paying lip service to God when tragedy strikes, but steadily denying his power from working in our lives while busily pursuing our greedy, self-centered versions of the American dream.

What will become of a nation and the world-at-large when most of its residents exhibit the characteristics Paul warns Timothy would occur in the last days?

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. Mark 13:8

 

The horrific murder of 20 young children, six of their teachers, and the suspect’s own mother has once again sent shock waves across the nation. American citizens must soon realize that there are no longer any safe havens. Our shopping malls, office buildings, movie theaters, places of worship, roads, restaurants, schools and colleges have all been stained with the blood of innocent men, women and children. And, just as Jesus predicted, these types of troubles are occurring more frequently with unimagined devastation. Our precious Lord and Savior warned us that these sufferings would occur and that they are only the beginning of many sorrows. He accurately predicted “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” With the hearts of many becoming so callous, unfortunately it will take more heartbreaking tragedies and disasters to awaken most people out of their selfish, lawless, pleasure-driven lifestyles.

I believe the recent storm known as “Sandy” that laid waste to much of the Northeastern seaboard and surrounding cities and the mass shooting at “Sandy” Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT have far greater significance than most people realize.

These events are not mere coincidences or random occurrences. I believe God is speaking to us as a nation through these calamities. The message being delivered to all is to make sure that our houses (lives) are not built on sand. For a clearer picture, I will turn to the words of Jesus Christ, who said,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” Matthew 7: 21-27

There is much that can be said about these verses, but the preeminent point is that God is testing those who claim to know him by sending storms in their lives. It rains on the just and the unjust and judgment comes to those both inside and outside the Body of Christ. Since America claims to be a Christian nation, God is also testing that assertion. I’m not saying that God directly told a young man to kill his own mother and randomly shoot 26 people at an elementary school. However, I am saying that God is allowing the citizens of this country to reap some of the whirlwind that we have sown domestically and abroad.

Over the last decade, American soldiers with the support of the majority of U.S. citizens, have taken thousands of innocent lives having nothing to do with the cause of conflict. Many of those slain were children. Do you honestly believe God is pleased with this? Have the war-mongering saints so intent on physically fighting their enemies become so predisposed to settle disputes with bombs and drones forgotten that God “hates hands that are quick to shed innocent blood and feet that are swift in running to evil”?

Stop handgunsDo we love warfare and our right to bear arms more than we love God and our neighbor? Do we trust our weaponry to protect us from evildoers more than we trust in God for our protection? Do we seek the answers to our problems with violence more than we turn to God in prayer? Do we believe that God is no longer involved in the affairs of this world and that he sits in silence allowing us to take matters into our own hands?

I believe that the words President Obama spoke in Newtown, CT were prophetic and inspired by God. I don’t care one cent about your political views and your personal opinions of Barack Obama. If you have any spiritual discernment you should have noticed that this was no ordinary speech. He began the speech by reading 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – 5:1. From there he spoke as a wounded man pleading with the nation to examine itself and come to grips with the violence that has become a blight plaguing our nation.

The Christian community in America was and remains so divided over the presidential elections that we need to be reminded that “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Have we forgotten that God once humbled Nebuchadnezzar the powerful, self-proclaimed god-king of Babylon, turning him into a beast until he recognized Yahweh’s authority and sovereignty over the entire creation? Why are we so quick to forget that we are not in control of the events of these end times? If God could turn Pharoah’s heart towards his people freeing them from slavery, why do we not truly believe that God can do these same things today? It seems we would much rather argue and be divisive than humble ourselves, seek guidance, and sincerely pray for those in authority over us.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a divine reminder about what is truly important in this life. And, whether you like it or not, God used President Obama as his messenger. I believe this was one of the most important speeches ever made by a U.S. President. In a stirring address before an audience in mourning, President Obama stated (scriptures in parentheses added),

Barack Obama in Newtown, CT…This is our first task — caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

(For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
1 Peter 4:17)

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

(Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:7-8)

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.

(Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. Hosea 6:1)

Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors. The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims. And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America — victims whose — much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

(Now then, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children which you gave to them, surely, therefore, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved, and all those you hated; I will gather them from all around against you and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. Ezekiel 16:35-37)

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try…

(Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. Acts. 3:19)

…We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?…

There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have — for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace — that is true. The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves, and binds us to something larger — we know that’s what matters. We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.

That’s what we can be sure of. And that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us. That’s how you’ve inspired us. You remind us what matters. And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do, for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.

(The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6)

“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them — for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana. Dylan. Madeleine. Catherine. Chase. Jesse. James. Grace. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline. Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Allison.

God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory.

May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place. May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort. And may He bless and watch over this community, and the United States of America.

 

The only way to carry on and make our country worthy of the memory of all the innocent blood shed is to repent, turn wholeheartedly to God, and begin to love Him with all our being and to love our neighbor as we love our own selves. We often find the good in our fellow man when tragedy strikes and the kindness of strangers is extended to help alleviate suffering. This is what God is calling us as a nation to return to all the time. The love we have for one another is what defines us as God’s people. God will continue to judge this land until the people get back to loving and caring for one another as we have been commanded to do.

Love covers a multitude of sins! Love is the greatest force in the universe and God is defined simply as love. Without love we are nothing. We can have the most sophisticated weapons systems and every citizen can be armed to the teeth, but nothing can protect us from God’s judgment for violating his commandments. This is what President Obama’s speech was intended to drive home.

God is indeed calling us from our homes and hearts that are built on sand into a new town, his heavenly city that we enter when we are born again of his love. This is the purpose of the tragedies that have befallen us. Sadly, there will be many more to come before the message is fully understood. Our folly of depending on the flesh of man will be revealed to us ever increasingly in the coming days. Hard hearts have to be broken. Selfishness must be consumed. Idolatry will be judged and driven out.

America and the church within, the choice is yours. Either repent now and receive mercy or go through the intense fires of Yahweh’s judgment. This nation will be changed permanently at some point in the near future. Will you be a part of the problem or a part of the solution?

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