Sunday, December 8, 2013

Where is God When Babies Die?

Matthew 2:13-18
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[c]
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”[
The narrative of Christ's birth is obviously a popular part of scripture this time of  year.  Kids dress up and put on nativities.  Most of our houses are decorated with some sweetly sentimental item representing something from these stories.  And right smack dab in the middle of all this sweetness and joy is this horrific story.  Which, shockingly, is rarely reenacted by sunday school Christmas performances.....
Here is the worst part; Why did Herod get so mad he went out and slaughtered a bunch of innocent babies?  Because God had warned the Magi to avoid Herod.  Wait?! What?!  Herod's depraved behavior is a direct result of the action of God. 
What about you?  What horrific hurts and pains lie underneath the surface of your heart right now?  If most of our hearts were bared open for all to see, they would not be pretty to see.  And as we stand there screaming at the Heavens we all want to know....Where were  you God? 
We tend to have a very myopic view of life.  Our experiences and perspectives are limited to a very fine focus.  Especially in the midst of suffering.  Have you ever woken up from a particularly bad dream and it took a good 5-10 minutes of being awake to realize that what you dreamt had not happened?  As a parent those are the worst dreams.  One night I had a dream where something happened to my kids.  I woke up in a panic sweat.  Ran to their rooms.  Even after seeing them sleeping peacefully it was quite a while before my heart stopped racing.  And that whole day my body felt the strain of stress, even though my anxiety was not based on reality.
Expand that.  Not to downplay the severity of what you may have experienced(or are experiencing), but that finite situation can become an all consuming pain that colors the way we view our entire life.  And we turn and shout to the heavens, Where were you God?
This temporal existence is a never ending cycle of the good with the bad.  Sin brings devastating consequences that reverberate in all areas of creation.  And this passage beautifully illustrates that painful dichotomy.
As evil was being perpetuated upon children, the most beautiful and important thing that has ever occurred was happening.  Even with the backdrop of great pain, God had entered into our pained existence in the Person of His only Son, Jesus. 
Why did He enter in?  Because evil men slaughter babies.  Because parents abandon their children.  Because disease and disorders destroy families and shatter lives.  Because you are broken and hurting.
While we become bogged down with that which is immediately in front of us, the Angels cry out that the King is here, that He is on the move.  While you are crying alone again, Christ is marching up Golgotha.  While you lay in a grave that precious loved one gone to soon, Christ is being placed in the tomb.  When you cry out, God where are you, Christ is rising from Death, never to return.
When we keep our eyes down we miss what is happening right in front of us.  Christ is on the move.  He is not just on the move to stop Herod and save the infants of Bethlehem.  He is on the move to bring to its end all death, evil, and, pain. 
Do you realize that God is moving right now in the midst of your pain.  You probably don't see it if you are keeping your eyes down and being consumed by pain.  Look up! 
2000 years ago God set into motion His work to answer all evil and to end all death.  What He began through the birth of Jesus will continue until every tear will be wiped from your eye.  You are not alone, and you are not without hope.
Where is God when babies die?  Where is He when you are hurting and you feel beyond repair?  He is on the move, and will not stop until all who call on Him are rescued.
Here is the challenge for us;  Can we begin to live by faith, not by our eyes?  If the faith of a mustard seed can move a mountain, begin to trust that you are not alone, your King is coming for you and will not allow you to perish.  Not because of anything good in you, but because everything good in HIM!
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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