Monthly Archives: November 2015

Where are the flags?

November 11th is a special day in our country.  It’s a day where our nation honors those that are and have served in our armed forces.  A small way to show our appreciation for their willingness to fight for our country.  No matter what their reason may have been – free college, honor, excitement, etc., it is still a sacrifice.  It shouldn’t matter what we think about the conflicts we are involved in around the world, or how we view the military from a political standpoint. All that should matter is that there are brave men and women in our country that signed on the dotted line offering up their very existence to serve and protect us.

This morning, I left the house with my daughter who is four years old.  She was so excited, for today was the Veterans day parade in town, and her day care class would have a front row seat.  All she could think about last night and this morning was getting one thing – an American flag. “Can we go get my flag now Daddy?” she asked at least 50 times since she got home last night.  Of course we would get a flag for her to wave during the parade.  Shouldn’t be that hard, right?  I left my house this morning at 7:30 a.m. and traveled to three different locations before I finally found an American flag.  Each place I left with a little more disappointment and disgust.  Rows and rows of Christmas decorations in every store, but not a single American flag.  No flag stickers, nothing to commemorate this special day.  The excitement in her eyes when we finally found flags was precious and honest.  This kid is excited to live this life.  She doesn’t know yet why she has such a good life.  She doesn’t understand that her freedom to live this life was bought on the backs of those that have served this country.  But she is exactly why they did it.

It hurts my heart to see our country running so far away from what made us the nation we are today.  Our national pride is all but forgotten.  Where are the flags?  Why aren’t we more proud of our history and heritage and at the very least thankful for those that helped build this great nation?  Today, I am proud to be an American.  I am proud of all that our country has been through and I am proud of what we stand for.  I am thankful that God blessed me to live in this great nation and to have the freedoms that we have.  I pray that our country – beginning with my children will have a bigger sense of national pride and help lead future generations to embrace that pride.  God has blessed America, and for that I am thankful.

Thank you to all the Veterans, for your sacrifices and willingness to give your very life so that I may enjoy the freedoms I have today!

Why did God do this to me? Part 2

In a previous post, I looked at the question many have asked: where is God when tragedy strikes?  This question resonates even louder when that tragedy strikes a child, or someone that is seemingly innocent and in no-way deserving of the evil that befalls them.  I decided to break the topic up into two answers.  These are my interpretations, and may not necessarily be concrete and rock solid, but what I feel is a likely explanation.  That post started by looking at the holiness of God and focused on the key characteristic that he gave to us as humans – free will.

Today, I want to focus on the repercussions of that free will and how God  moves within tragedy to despair to continue accomplishing his perfect will for humanity.  The repercussions are pretty obvious.  Because we are given free will, we will make mistakes and choose wrong things.  Take a quick trip all the way back to the creation of the world and the first man and woman.  They had a garden, that I imagine, was as expansive as anything you could imagine.  In the middle of it, there was a tree.  Now, create this picture, the tree, I think was probably not flashy, and compared to all that God had given his perfect creation in this perfect place, probably didn’t really stick out and entice.  In fact, the devil in the disguise as the serpent had to “tempt” eve to eat from the tree.  It wasn’t until they had their little pow-wow that eve looked on the tree and saw that it’s fruit looked good.  But in that moment a decision was made.  Eve chose through her own free will to make a poor decision.  That one single act opened the door for tragedy and calamity to befall our world.  Once that door was opened, there was no closing it.  That is why we will always have suffering and tragedy in this world.  Until Christ returns and end-times play out, we will live in a world that continues to follow that path that was taken with the first sin.

The flip side to this free will curse, is a blessing.  We can also choose God.  We can choose to follow him and his perfect plan of salvation which doesn’t guard us from all harm, but guarantees us that his love and adoration will always be upon us.  Because of the sin-cursed world, we are going to be witness to, or directly involved in tragedy.  But through our free-will choice of following God, we can face the tragedy with a peace in our heart that is unexplained,  but ever present.  God doesn’t leave everyone to their own resources when tragedy strikes.  He is there.  He is there comforting those that have given their life to him, and he is there waiting with open arms to receive those that choose him in their darkest hour.  Could God stop all suffering in this world?  Sure he could, and he will one day.  But his love for humanity is to great to cut short the opportunities to choose him.  One day, God will know that all who have chosen him, are all that will, and he will return.  But every day that he waits, is another day that he has allowed for those that know him to reach someone with the gospel message, and for someone that has never chosen him, to make that decision.  During those days, we will see suffering and tragedy and often times it will be to “good people” who we think didn’t deserve his wrath.  We have to remember that it wasn’t his wrath that brought on that pain, but our choice to reject his love and mercy.  But more importantly we have to remember that he is still right there, loving us through that difficult time and helping us use that experience to grow and become stronger.

So, in summary – God gave us free will, because he desired for his creation to want to love him, not be forced to.  He did it knowing that it allowed the possibility and almost certainty that bad choices would be made and that it will allow his creation to become corrupt and evil.  Yet he did it anyway to give us the opportunity to choose him.  Tragedy is all around us because of choices made in that free-will.  Good and innocent people will be consumed in the carnage often times because our free will has a cause and effect relationship on the world around us.  But in the midst of the tragedy and suffering God is there.  Comforting and working all the right angles to continue bringing more and more people into a right relationship with him, all through their own free-will.

God, I thank you for your love and I thank you that you desire a relationship with me.  This is not an easy topic and I don’t understand as deeply as I want to, but I trust that you are in control and that your plan, including free-will, is perfect and just what is needed to bring you glory through your creation choosing you each day.  Help me to be a comfort to someone in need today, a blessing through my hands and feet to someone that needs to see your gospel message in action.  I love you and thank you for your perfect will.  In Christ I pray, Amen.