Thursday, December 3, 2015

Laws and Prayer

I've been sitting in my comfortable living room this last month thinking about the events of the world. We just moved to Minnesota for a job promotion my husband received.  While I was waiting for new furniture to arrive (because the old stuff was just....old), people in Paris were waiting to hear if loved ones were alive.  I read about the people in Beirut suffering the same brutality while I was taking a break from unwrapping the plastic off our new mattresses.  I am fully aware of my comforts.  I thank God for them.  I am also fully aware that as a wife and mother of young children, I am limited in my response to those in pain on the other side of the world.  I know Someone who is not limited, though. So I vow to talk to Him on their behalf.

Then yesterday, yet another attack, a little closer to home to home this time. On American soil. I'm heartbroken for the people whose holidays will forever be marked by fear and grief. Yet, in my comfortable living room, I roll my eyes at the thought of what is coming. Screams from one side demanding gun control. Screams from the other side defending their right to protect themselves. It didn't take long. I saw my first headline this morning.

A few years ago, I was listening to a pastor talk about the Jewish laws.  The Old Testament outlines 613 laws the Jewish people had to follow.   I was thinking about how exhausting that must have been to remember them all. 613 rules about how to go about life. If you broke just one of those laws, you were guilty of breaking all of them. How absurd. I thanked God that I didn't live then. It's so much easier living with the two simple ones Jesus left. "Love God, Love others." Easy Peasy (kind of).

All of this outrage about gun control had me wondering how many laws there are in America.  I couldn't find an answer. I found some article that said in 2010 over 40,000 NEW laws were being put into effect that year. That's over 800 per state. In one year! 

I'm not saying that we don't need gun control laws.   God gave the Jewish people laws to protect them and to set them apart from the world. But in that loving restriction, He was also showing them how much they needed a Savior.   The laws of today, no matter how well intended or necessary, merely underline how incapable man is of fixing what is wrong in this world.  But as the New York Magazine so boldly states "God isn't fixing this."  I agree. I'm a Christian and I agree. Why?  Because God said so Himself. 

In Romans, Paul talks about the wickedness of man. This isn't anything new in 2015. In chapter 1:28 he says "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are....INVENTORS OF EVIL...UNLOVING....UNMERCIFUL..."

God gave them over to their depraved minds.  His wrath will come in full force to the inventors of evil.  Psalm 11:6 is a promise. "Upon the wicked He will rain snares, Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup."  God isn't fixing evil. He already has.

But what about us? The people who not only acknowledge God, but love Him and trust Him. What does He tell us?  This is where I think about the Israelites in exile in the book of Jeremiah chapter 29. God told them they were going to be in exile for 70 years. That's a lifetime. But He also told them to "build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.....take welfare in the city I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on it's behalf; for in its welfare, you will have welfare."

He told His people to live and build lives. He told them to pray to and to keep care of each other.  He told them I'll be back to bring you home, but in the meantime, trust Me. Then He says in verse 11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

Right now seems pretty hopeless with 355 mass shootings in the last year in America alone. But my hope is not man's ability to fix the world with laws. My hope is in a Creator larger than this who has promised to wipe away every tear.  And I will continue to pray for the welfare of my people, because God has said to do so.