I woke up this morning and the air was thick with distinct rage and an overwhelming sense of despair due to the blood that was spilled on a Sousse beach in Tunisia. As the injured lose the battle for their lives in Tunisian hospitals, and the briefly missing are identified, we have watched the death toll rise, and with it, our outrage at the injustice of the attack. Most of us are caught between a rock and a hard place, as we desire to do something, anything, that will ‘help’ but there doesn’t seem to be a way for our wills to become reality. There’s no collection to donate to that will bring back lost lives, no clock that can be turned back to stop this all from happening, and no consolation we can give to those who have lost their loved ones.
Today, we will have a minute’s silence for all those who fall victim to the ongoing war on terror.
I won’t deny my dissatisfaction! Yes, I will say a prayer for all the victims’ loved ones, that regardless of their faith, the Holy Spirit will be their comforter, but I can’t shake the feeling that I am not doing enough. I have never believed in purgatory (I can’t find evidence of it in my Bible) so I have struggled to come to finally accept that there is nothing I can do for the dead. Nothing. Since hearing breaking news on Thailand, I have spent my time pondering the shocking reminder of the transient nature of life, not paying attention to the fact that all those who have left us will either be resting in perfect peace with Christ or not, and now, from Earth, there is no way to influence where there souls will spend eternity.
People die every day. That is a fact. They are snatched from us by people claiming to be fighting ‘holy wars’, ill health, old age and by a heap of natural disasters. We can spend our time focusing on the lives that have been cut short, the opportunity withdrawn for some, to marry, have kids, or even celebrate their 18th birthdays, but we are ignoring the pressing reminder that in their passing, their fate for heaven/h… not-Heaven (just typing it gives me chills), has been finalised, and no amount of praying can change that.
Today, I will do something.
There’s a chilling finality to death, but death brings whole new opportunities if we come into contact with Christ before we pass. A lot of us Christians are shocked because the increasing death toll is the alarm bell ringing we don’t have the time to be ineffectual and lukewarm in our faith. Death is snatching lives all the time; will you fight for another life getting to see God when they pass? How much do we believe that God loves all, and simultaneously God hates sin? How much do we care that judgement is inescapable. No, we cannot prevent deaths, but there is a war to be had and souls are in need of being won.
Today I am ready for battle
What stands out amidst the terror that has been painstakingly revealed as victims recant their stories, is the courage shown by some, the determination to live and to protect the lives of loved ones. Sarea Wilson told of how her husband-to-be stood between her and three bullets so she could have the chance to escape. The lengths he went to to save her life are astounding.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)
I’m not suggesting you need to lay down your life for people to find Christ, but what are you willing to do differently? Oh, the plethora of cop-out excuses for why we can’t evangelise, which the thought of sends shudders down many a spine, but is simply sharing the love of Christ. Evangelism has almost become a dated aspect of our faith that we’re ignoring until someone comes up with a full-proof method for minimal embarrassment, but, until then, aren’t we just wasting time?
When I speak to Christians about evangelism, they’re always emphasising that by living a Christlike life, they are evangelising, so they shouldn’t need to hit the streets with flyers and a soapbox. What did Jesus do? Yes, he developed relationships with people and evangelised through his lifestyle, but that didn’t stop him from speaking out in public, and gathering crowds of thousands of people to hear the good news. We use ‘actions speak louder than words’ to get out of speaking to people about Christ but our inaction of speaking up, has left the message of Christ’s love that we are trying to live out, almost inaudible.
What is stopping us from taking evangelism seriously?
If we say we love Christ, we must have a love for our others. How long will we stay mute because we don’t want to offend or because we don’t want to seem strange? If we don’t care to see the world come to Christ, or aren’t actively involved in spreading the Good News, the world can only question how great this God really is, that we claim to serve. Maybe it’s that we’ve strayed so far from God, telling someone about him is the last thing on our minds. Yes we attend church, we might even serve in a ministery, but have we lost that life-changing connection with Christ, that we once had? That connection that causes you to wake up excited to pray and makes you want to savour every second you spend in God’s presence. After all, how can you see the lack of Christ in someone’s life when you don’t notice the lack of his presence in your own? I can personally connect with that reason. Of course I’ve forgotten that the world needs Christ when I’ve forgotten that I need him too.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Today I will use every opportunity I can get
We become so self-centred in our Christianity, rating our growth in Christ by whether we can prophecy to our congregations and heal the sick, but the love we have for God has got to cause us to want to see the souls around us saved. Acceptance of others’ lifestyle choices has become silently watching, with the justification that everyone has their own belief, and we don’t have a right to make them feel like ours hold more truth than theirs. We cannot live this way anymore. Christ said, “I am the way, the truth and the light, no-one can come to the father except through me.” You might be surrounded with really lovely and kind atheists, but let’s not belittle their need for Christ based on our judgement that they are ‘good’ people.
Today, I am ready to fight for someone else’s life
I hereby declare that I will wear my Christianity loud and proud, fighting the war that has been waged with love and prayer, actively seeking opportunities to tell somebody about my King, my best friend, my main squeeze, the one who has kept me sane and loved me when I didn’t love myself.
Love Dani xxxxx