Tired

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” Isaiah 40:39 (NIV).

prayerful crossOn Sunday morning, I will stand behind the pulpit at Shiloh United Methodist Church and preach a message of hope on this second Sunday of Advent. Before I do that, I will help the congregation sing some wonderful songs and further prepare each other for the birth of our Lord. Before I preach and after we share a warm welcome and music, I will share prayer concerns. I will, yet again, ask the saints of Shiloh to join me in praying in the aftermath of yet more mass violence and domestic terrorism.

I am not looking forward to having to do that yet again. Quite frankly, I’m tired of having to ask people to join me in prayer after yet more violence.

I’m tired of turning on the news and, almost daily, hearing of more violence against innocent people in the world. Not only here in the United States but all over the world there are incidents of mass violence where people who had absolutely nothing to do with whatever situation brought about the incident are losing their lives. Their loved ones – parents, children, spouses – are left behind to try and pick up the pieces.

I’m tired of thinking of what I would tell my daughter in order to try and explain why people do these evil things. I’m tired of seeing posts on social media from parents who are having the same struggles. No child should ever have to be told why a man went into a building and just started shooting people for no reason other than he was deranged, angry or under some other evil influence. Yet, when these things happen so often in the USA the kids have to be told something. If we don”t tell them, someone else will. That makes the job of a parent harder.

I’m tired of words being spoken and written, offering prayers for mercy, healing, for a miracle to happen which will stop these atrocities from happening. This is not me saying we shouldn’t pray and encourage others to pray – quite the opposite – but I also think that there comes a point where for many people such things are mere words. This is my opinion to take it for what it’s worth: I think God is tired of it too. Oh, I don’t doubt His ability to stop all the violence and someday He will with the return of Jesus. We read in scripture that on that day all things will be made new, every tear wiped away, ever bad thing made right. But in the meantime, God desires to use us in His work in the world. Unfortunately, we are not willing to participate. Instead we expect God to do it alone when using us is His desire.

“I shook my fist at Heaven, said, ‘God, why don’t You do something?’ He said, ‘I did, I created you’” – Lyric from “Do Something” by Matthew West.

I’m tired of angry rhetoric on social media and in the news media. People are quick to jump up and say “we should ban guns” while others say “don’t blame the gun, it was the shooter.” People present “facts” left and right about why they are right and everyone else is wrong and, therefore, a terrible person. Have we not learned by now that playing the blame game does absolutely nothing? Nothing changes when we play “keyboard cowboy” and spout off angry posts placing blame on an object or opinion. At the end of the day, none of that matters. The problem is evil. That’s what’s to blame.

But having said that…

I’m tired of nothing being done about it. As mentioned above, we like to offer words of prayer but can’t be bothered to act. We don’t hold our elected officials accountable for their inaction on this issue. I’m not proposing we ban guns or take guns from people. What I am saying is that something must be done. We must make the ability to purchase a gun more strenuous than merely providing a birthday and social security number for a very rudimentary background check. I believe we should do more to curb the illegal gun trade. Before you start trashing me and calling me names, you need to know that I say all of this as a gun owner and a proponent of the right to responsibly own and use firearms.

Will any of that stop all gun crimes? Of course not but it’s a step in the right direction. We can no longer justify sitting on our hands and allowing the gun lobby to use fear to stop us from enacting proactive change.

The bottom line is that I’m tired of the status quo. There comes a time when change is needed and this is it. We can no longer allow the United States to be a country where mass violence and domestic terrorism is considered “just another day.” Our mamas raised us better than that. It’s time to act like it.

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10 thoughts on “Tired

  1. Jonathan…love what you have to say. If this info below is true (and I am not giving it full credence just because it showed up on the internet), what then is the answer?

    “As we pay attention to another sickening tragedy, in a gun control haven, of course our President doesn’t even wait to find out what happened before he calls for more gun control. Interestingly, California won’t even allow you to legally own a semi auto AR or AK style rifle unless it satisfies their bizarre bullet button/mag release cage laws, that essentially makes it impossible to change magazines without a tool.”

    I don’t have anything better than prayer at the moment…

    Mike

    1. If I had the answer to this problem, I would be in DC. As I don’t, we have to hold our elected officials accountable. We need to not be so afraid of change that we don’t elect new people if the ones there refuse to do anything besides toe the party line.

  2. While I agree that tightening firearms restrictions might be beneficial in curbing some types of gun violence, let’s look at the big picture. Recent episodes of gun violence dominating the news lately have not been your typical crime related events. A group of religious zealots has openly declared war on anyone in the world who doesn’t follow their beliefs. They not only use guns as a killing tool but they use IED’s, WMD’s, swords, knives, and their bare hands if necessary. Enhancing gun laws will have zero effect in dealing with this type of violence in the United States. The situation that we are facing is an ideological obsessive-compulsive disorder that cannot be diminished or controlled by simply enacting tougher gun laws. I have no confidence whatsoever that our political leaders are capable of dealing with this problem but I do know that we need Jesus now more than ever.

    1. Stronger gun laws might not have prevented this particular incident but I still think this is a symptom of a larger problem. As I mentioned in my post, the return of Jesus is the only thing that will stop all of this once and for all but until then we have to stop waiting for God to do something and admit that He’s want us to participate in His work. While stronger gun laws won’t change the minds of people with ideologies that bring about violence, they may help to prevent other tragedies. There’s no conceivable reason why someone with a history of significant mental illness that includes homicidal tendencies should be able to easily get their hands on a gun.

      As for the ideologies themselves, I wish I had a better answer on that than we need more of Jesus. A lot of people call for profiling but we can’t do that. If we’re willing to profile Muslims then we had also better be profiling ourselves (Christians) because the majority of these shootings are pulled off by white males who profess an extremist Christian ideology. The larger problem is one of total depravity more than a particular ideology.

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