Two hours ago, I sat in a coffee shop and read these words:
The world doesn’t assess Christianity in the categories of true or false, but in the categories of useful or harmful. The world does not think of Christianity as divine revelation but as human opinion. The world does not believe that God must reveal our deepest need, and then provide the remedy in Jesus Christ. The world believes that we know our deepest needs and that religion can be respectable if it helps meet them.
After hearing about the shootings, after looking at the pictures, my first instinct was to respond with the usefulness of Christianity. Our faith can be so helpful in these times when the world just doesn’t make sense.
Don’t mistake me – I believe that God longs to wrap His arms around the victims families with the comfort and love of His Son.
But, the words above echoed in my heart with their truth. This great Gospel in which we stand does not primarily exist to provide comfort in incredibly hard days – although it does do that. It does not primarily exist to respond to the needs we think we have. It exists to reveal our true needs.
Our deepest need is not for a world without shootings. Although, I confess that today I am devastated that God has not given us a world that reflects His revealed will. Our deepest need is not for a season of peace, although I join God Himself in crying out for His Kingdom to come. Our deepest need is not to be protected from the evil in others, although, I wish with all my heart that God had seen fit to guard those children from that evil.
Our deepest need is Christ crucified. We need a Savior to rescue us – not primarily from the evil in others – but from the evil in ourselves. We need do be protected – not just from such horrific men – but from the horror inside of us all.
I’m praying right now.
I’m praying for the families that are facing suffering that I cannot comprehend this Christmas. I don’t know how to begin to imagine the devastation of losing a child to such violence. May Emmanuel – God with us – be tangible to them.
I’m praying that the shock we all feel at seeing evil become visible will lead us not to hate, but serve as a reminder that there is a darkness we do not see and cannot sense lurking in the shadows of us all.
I’m praying that we would hurt for our broken world.
I’m praying that our faith would be more than a useful tool to respond to self-identified needs. I’m praying that it would be the revelation of a deeper need than we ever dreamed, and a glorious and true solution to our aching hearts.
I’m praying that we who have tasted the depths of His great grace would somehow be able to pray with Jesus: Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.