Sometimes we don’t understand how we arrived at a certain place until we look back and recognize the path upon which we have walked. Here, David is doing just that as he reflects upon the Lord’s presence in the life of the nation. It is that recognition of the presence of the Lord that enables David to state with confidence, “Our help is in the name of the Lord.”
It is that lack of recognition of the presence of God that is plaguing our society in these days, particularly in the matter of school shootings, mall massacres and other acts of terror inflicted upon our citizenry. These are not, for the most part, acts of Islamic jihadists; rather they are acts of despair perpetrated by otherwise nor-mal, red-blooded Americans, who live their lives with an ongoing sense of hopelessness.
But these are people, children, many of them, who have never learned of God’s grace. I’m certain that if a study were conducted, it would be found that most of the perpetrators of acts of violence, from the Columbine massacre to the school shooting in Sandy Hook, never spent much time in Sunday school. They grew up lost, and the natural result of being lost is despair. And despair, feelings of hopelessness, can lead to erratic behavior. And too often we are seeing this erratic behavior being played out in violent acts, such as murder and suicide.
I’ve always found it troubling that many of these shootings involve the murder of others, then the suicide of the shooter. It is an unfortunate, recurring theme of “misery loves company.” These assassins are miserable and they seek to live out their misery and anger, however briefly, on those around them, those whom they perceive to be happier, more “with it” than they themselves.
It is unfortunate that our society has generally rejected Christian values in its attempt at political correctness. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or impose our own religious values upon others. We certainly would not want to be branded as radical, evangelical believers in a God who, in His own time, makes all things beautiful.
No, society instead insists that “I’m okay; you’re okay.” We can believe anything that we want, provided we give the other guy the same right. But where is the Christian responsibility in that? The Great Commission tells us to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation,” but we can’t even make disciples in our own neighborhoods for fear of offending someone. Too often modern churches are filled with aging people whose idea of evangelism is trying to get people to come to the next church supper.
This trend must stop. It is time to reassert a boldness in our personal ministry, to demonstrate the winsomeness that draws people to Christ.
School shootings and other acts of violence will continue until we, as Christians, do our part to turn despair into joy by proclaiming, over and over again: “Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth.” Maybe then, just maybe, some of these children of despair and hopelessness will lay down their weapons and understand that God is with them as well.
- James Barnes
First Baptist Church, Berlin and their pastor Dean Stiles
Crossroads Community Church, Bow and their pastor Rick Huntley
Region Staff: Abraham Gross, Assistant to the Region Minister for Pastoral Stability and Networking