Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Words of the Upright Save

Then stood before the Throne two men. One embraced and one despised. Tragically, for both in the Savior's eyes were loved, yet one forever lost, without a homeland; the other a brother celebrated, crowned with victory.

David Wilkerson and Osama bin Laden both departed this life this week. Wilkerson welcomed by His dearly loved Jesus, Wilkerson who told the world daily who loved it best, received with jubilation. Bin Laden, the antithesis of such selfless goodness, may have experienced a different fate. His eternal reward or the lack of one I leave to the only one able to judge him. (God will render to every man according to his deeds... Romans 2:6)

An email I sent to friends and family in June of 2006 came at once to mind. It was Father's Day and two soldiers from the 502nd of the 101st had been kidnapped and murdered. In all my jumbled up feelings surrounding that time, God caused me to recall as He does at this very moment, the power we have to oppose evil and vanquish it. To turn it away from a life, to refuse it a handhold and thereby save those who would associate with that life from hurt and harm. Bin Laden was not always the mastermind of 9/11.

I offer this story to you in the hope that it will encourage you to "Tell them." Find a field and plant the Word and save the Bin Ladens of the planet from themselves and from blood guiltiness if they will hear. They are all around us. They are not all on foreign soil. Support our missionaries and pastors who labor to "Tell them," but don't just delegate this responsibility.

"Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you for a reason regarding the hope that is in you," 1 Peter 3:15

"Go into all the world (including where you work, shop, live) and preach the gospel to all creation." Mark 16:15

It is a mission Jesus will bless.


I was so sad when I woke up this morning. The news that wakes me every morning made me cry.

"Two bodies found. Killed in a barbaric way."

I don't remember breathing. It felt as if my heart clamped down upon itself and made a tiny fist in my chest. My imagination, which had been kept prisoner by the force of my will and prayer life, burst through my defenses and ran riot through my mind. Even now images are forming that will haunt my day or worse as details filter through to us via the news.

It will be hard to give any real weight or significance to whose insurance claim gets paid today, whose medical assistant gets a raise, which doctor joins what PPO. Even less important will be any disagreement with family, any minor offense I may have suffered, something they were out of at the grocery, the long wait in line at the bank, what to cook for supper.

Many years ago there was a terrible killing of a small boy in the town I was from. It caused a seasoned Judge to retire from the bench. I was upset with God that He could exist and be all powerful and do absolutely nothing to stop it. How really merciful He is was born out by the fact that He knew of my feelings because I was standing in my living room, with my own child sleeping in the next room, and I was pointing my finger at Heaven and laying my case out with some of the choice expletives I was famous for in my younger life.

I accused God of indifference, of cowardice, of being an outright liar when He wrote of His love for us. I recall saying, "So just you tell me how come these things can happen and you do nothing!" I went to my Bible, not for comfort but to accuse God using His own words.

My Bible fell open to a line that silenced me, changed me. The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them. Proverbs 12:5-7 One version says, "The words of the wicked kill. The speech of the upright saves." God knew I was not angry because two degenerates had used harsh language on a defenseless boy but His point was made.

I felt a stab of accusation, "...the words of the upright save." There were people out there who were hell bent to destroy, to lay in wait for blood, but the words of the upright are the defense against that. I began to see the place of grace in our world. More than that I saw my responsibility as a contact point for that grace. I had to start talking.

God not understand? Who was I kidding? He had written of His love for us in blood. He had sent His son to a foreign country only to see Him abused, tortured and murdered and made a public spectacle. There were many insults Christ's body testified to upon His death. I shudder when I consider the story His corpse whispered to Mary as it lay in her arms. Yet His parting words to those who loved him were to go "tell them." God had done His part. He was now trusting us to save those who conspire to do evil by telling them about Christ, by the word of our testimony.

My response to that day was to teach children's church. It was like throwing starfish back into the sea one at a time but how can any of us know how many lives we really touch? We are tempted to wonder who the little ones we tell about God will grow up to be. There is also the matter of who they will not grow up to be. Someone who waits on the blood of his neighbor. God did his job. I had to do mine. If there was a chance to let someone know Christ loved them then I was going to do some talking.

As I sit here today feeling so much that same anguish I am still persuaded that as a people we have something to say that can prove a defense against the evil in this world. As a church, as a country we have a voice that can change lives and impact history if we will just use it. It can surely make the places where we live, work, shop and worship better. There is a God who loves us. People need to know.

Today my son will be feeling emotions I cannot understand but only in part. He will be shattered, angry, fearful, vengeful. He will have to master his own feelings to help those under him master theirs. Maybe today he will be asking God some tough questions. He may have been among those who found his savaged comrades who must now be sent home to parents not unlike Mary although less prepared to receive such remains.

I would give 5 years of my life just to be able to put my arms around John David at this moment. I would give everything I have to bring him home. While I may wake up some days and think how nice it would be to stay home and not go to my busy job, John David gets up and goes to work in the town that destroyed those boys.

Several months ago God told John David that the day was coming when it would be crucial for everyone to know that he belonged to Christ. I think this may be that day.

My son is a man of war. He will not forgive the offense done this past Father's Day. John and those with him will do their job. His good heart will be conflicted but I pray his rudder will remain true. I also pray he will find his voice, the one needed for this time.

Please continue to pray for John's safety. He cannot come home yet. My kitchen is waiting for him. His sweet wife has kisses. His father has a hug that will crush the air out of him. We will send our prayers and support to our troops, to their families, to the families of those whose loss takes our breath away. We will let ourselves be lead to that Rock that is higher, to that shelter.

And I will speak the name of Jesus and not be silent.

Kathy June 20, 2006


But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? Romans 10:14

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