This is a picture of the theater in Paris, France where ISIS came in and assassinated several dozen people.
I know, it's gruesome to look at. It's not glamorized or edited by Fox News or CNN to be more palatable. It's just the raw human carnage, the remains of those who went to stand before God and give account having no idea that their time was so incredibly short. It reminds me of a phrase that actually does not appear in the bible directly but it says tomorrow is promised to no man. While that wording is not present in scripture, the concept certainly is and the point should be painstakingly clear.
So much of our lives are spent consumed in the moment. Our computers, jobs, phones, cars and a list of other things all scream for our instant attention mercilessly. There is a never ending stream of attention seeking stuff that always wants our time, attention and focus. What we focus on determines everything else in our lives. What we prioritize will in fact prioritize us.
When I was a little boy I had an aunt who died and my family found ourselves at her house going through her things to help settle her estate. One of the things my aunt had kept was a small newspaper clipping that said "at funerals, everyone pretends to be thinking about the dead person but really they are thinking about their own funeral". Having recently been to her funeral, I couldn't help but see the irony in that. I also think it explains much of what people go through when they get news of these terrorist attacks. It brings people face to face with their own mortality because they instinctively know that but for the Grace of God, it could have just as easily been them laying in their own blood on the floor of that theater.
We get so caught up and convinced that life is all about us but the cold reality is that the world was here when we got here and it will still be here after we leave. It can be somewhat of a depressing series of thoughts really if not for this one game changing idea and concept... Jesus died for us to save us from that meaningless and lonely existence selfishly wrapped up in our own selves.
The other thing that news of a tragedy like this brings is perspective. Often it is much needed perspective that reframes our realities and lets us know what really and truly matters. One of my favorite movie lines is from 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. When Indy is faced with his father's death if he doesn't act immediately, the main villain points a gun at him and says "It's time to ask yourself what you believe". Stories of human tragedy tend to do that, they bring us face to face with what we really believe.
A friend of mine made a fantastic observation the other day. He said politics is based on fear and control. He is exactly right. Our once great nation that was at one time led by an overwhelming confidence that God was with us and wanted to not only bless us but use us to bless others has now been overtaken by leadership that traffics in and willfully markets fear. We don't label our enemies for fear that it may offend others. When we do strike against others, it is out of fear that they may do us harm. A Godly leader at the helm of this nation will stop making fear based decision and instead return us to being guided by the timeless principles of holy scripture. Most of those same principles are enshrined within the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. After all, who better to know what makes us truly happy than our creator. Judging by the news headlines this week, we are certainly not doing a very good job of it ourselves.
I continue to pray for the United States of America. Many bible scholars say the reason America is not directly referenced in scripture is because we go too far and our sin ultimately destroys the country before the Lord returns. I have never believed that and even in light of recent events, I still have faith in America. God has indeed shed His Grace on us and if I have learned anything in my 45 years, it is that just a touch of that majestic Grace can change everything. I am praying for a Godly leader to be elected next November and more importantly, for everyone claiming the name of Jesus to rediscover the beauty and simplicity of that personal one on one relationship with Him. After all, He is what really matters.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.