14 Dec 2012

When tragedy strikes

Submitted by theshovel
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend to friendSend to friendPDF versionPDF version

When tragedy strikes close to home, many of us respond as if it's inconceivable that something so horrific could even happen, that a person could do something so vile. But after having lived so many years in this world, especially after having had our eyes opened, don't we know why? Deep down inside, don't we really understand? After all, how many times over the course of your own lifetime have you heard someone express hatred toward another, even a desire to kill? How many times was that you? Of course, people who say such things really don't mean it ... or do they? You've been there, and unless you've gotten so totally caught up in your own self-righteousness, you still remember what it's like.

This is all part of the reality of grace, my friends. For as those who were once citizens of this present evil world, we should understand how thin the veil of its civility truly is. And if you do remember, it might be more realistic to wonder how so many people have been able to keep a lid on the evil that so often comes unbidden from their lips. It might also remind us that the salvation of God has nothing to do with simply being kept under control, rather it's about having been made truly alive through the life of God in Christ.

Maybe it's just the shock that makes us imagine that only the worst of the worst could possibly commit horrendous acts that affect so many people. In truth, evil is happening all around us in more ways than we can possibly imagine. I cannot even think to wrap my arms around it all, for it would be overwhelming. I don't mean to downplay the events of the day in any way, but I'm not going to let the perceptions of a self-righteous world guide me to view anything according to its biased form of judgment. As for me, I have determined to see all things according to the wisdom of Christ.

ShovelAudio: Left in a Dark World

"I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one." Many of us have asked ... WHY? Why did Jesus ask his father NOT to take us out of the world? Why were we left in this dark world? What kind of protection do we really have? After all, wouldn't it have been much better if we had simply been whisked away?

Left in a Dark World

Download Audio Link

Related Content: 


Oh Jim! In my applause for what you said, I found myself wanting to quote this line and that line, practically repeating everything you said above back to you, with grateful agreement. My own personal tragedies were small, compared to those that happened to the families today, but I too wanted to shout, “How?!” and “Why?!” I wanted the evil to make sense, to have reason. If his evil was greater than my evil, then perhaps that would explain it. But that didn’t help me. It didn’t heal my heart. It didn’t make me feel more secure. Self righteousness never does. My love goes out to all who were affected today, and to all who are affected, ever. I wish no one had hurt you; but through it, know that someone loves you.

This is very good, Jim. Thanks. Tim

Well said, What we should be asking ourselves is why there is not more violence not less. Your right it is only by the grace of God that we manage to keep a lid on it at all. And all the political correctness has not fooled anyone. I do see a lot of those self-righteous folks on FB directing plenty of hatred toward the shooter,or the weapons, I guess they think they are living in paradise and every so often some evil person pops into our perfect world and commits a random act of violence and everyone is shocked.I try sharing the gospel with them and every now and then but it is pretty much ignored or answered with anger. Just what I expect :) It is hard to reach people because they have been so turned off by all the phony commercial so called Christian organizations.

It seems that the culture of a society can also keep a lid on most outward expressions of evil, but sometimes that lid is lifted off, albeit gradually, and evil runs rampant throughout the culture.  It may not seem as repulsive as what occurred in Connecticut yesterday, but evil nonetheless.

How many people are repulsed anymore about the extermination of 50 million+ people in the womb since Roe vs. Wade when the lid for that evil was lifted off.  Is it any less tragic than the Nazi holocaust, or the murder of 20 innocent elementary school children? 

How about homosexuality?  Has not the lid upon this abomination been lifted off to the degree where being open about it is celebrated within our culture.  This is not the case in all cultures, especially those deemed as “third world” by our so-called “civilized” society.  Those cultures in may ways are more civilized and God-fearing than ours.

No, cultural norms do not change evil hearts, but they can help to keep a lid on outward expressions of evil in it's various forms.




A quote from the web … “Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence. Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene. Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger. This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.”
theshovel's picture

At one time, I would have added my Amen to a quote like this. It's not that it doesn't touch me, for it does. You see, it's at times like this that many Christians from all over the world will again beg for grace and mercy in hopes that God might finally give them life. In view of the tragic events of this world, millions are bowing before the child in the manger ... and he would have to be crucified all over again to accommodate their requests.

After all, who do we suppose are affected by these pleas other than those who already consider themselves Christians? And those of us who have truly been made alive may consider throwing away our confidence in the crucified and risen Christ in hopes of having God be born anew in us through a reenactment of the Christmas story.

If we ever wondered at nature of the social climate that blinded so many Hebrews believers to the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ, causing them to consider paying homage to a return to the former, ineffective sacrifices that could never take away the sin and darkness ... this is it. Kneeling before the manger to plead with God for new life is a trampling underfoot of the son of God who has already given his life for us.


Very well said my brother. As I near the end of the life that I have known in this world, I have sensed a great disconnect by so many of us who call ourselves “Christians” . Our Redeemer can no more be found in a manger than He can be found hanging from a cross. And what more could He possibly utter to our world that would relieve our pain and suffering than when He uttered the words “it is finished”! And if I understand what I have read in the Scriptures correctly, it is definitely going to get much darker before the return of our King. We are admonished to hold on to what we believe because what we believe is what shapes our perspective of the world in general but more so in our daily dealings with both “good and evil”. It truly is finished and the Light does conquer the darkness. Be blessed. Art a.k.a. Pointman
theshovel's picture

Good to hear from you again, Art! :) It truly is finished in Christ.


It seems to me the quote from the web is a message directed to a certain audience: Those who are lost, those NOT born again, people trying to control their own lives, and the world by themselves alone or through more legislation and not considering God at all. Especially that last paragraph “Won’t you enter ours?” “and “we are looking for a star” and so on. The quote is an evangelistic opportunity to reach the lost as they ponder the tragedy. However, you make a great point. You are correct if one is born again and then returns again to the manger to seek life. These followers do not see as they live according to the circumstances of the world and not by the indwelling life of Christ (Gal. 2:20). “The world is in the hands of the evil one.” (A verse from I John somewhere??)
theshovel's picture

If you'll check out the source of the quote, you'll find that it comes from Max Lucado, and he signs it off as "Your Children". However, it makes no difference even if it was supposed to be an evangelistic message, for salvation is not found in approaching the manger but rather the crucified and risen Christ. I'm not being picky, as I know God is fully capable of saving us even when we use the wrong terminology, Bible verses, or doctrines. The problem should reveal itself, as it is played out within the whole religious system that gladly bows before the baby Jesus but rejects the truth of his grace at the same time. This is no accident, for a Christianity has been raised up that knows nothing of being raised up with Christ.


Hey Jim

I could not agree with you more. Many years ago I was told concerning Christmas that for me at least to continue in it was to see Christ as a child all over again each year and in doing so hindered my walk with God Himself because this was not the way things really are. We are told to worship God in Spirit and truth so much of what most who are christians call truth are just things taken from the world of men and have nothing to do with who we now are in Christ. 


Christ was born in the world to bring light to a dark world. Then Christ was born in a “dark” you to bring to light the Spirit and truth. Now I am sure you recognize that time when the birth of light, His Life, came into you?
theshovel's picture

My friend, I'm sure the rationale for going in this direction might seem to make an objection to what I've written, but you've gone down a totally different path than what I have presented. You're objecting to something other than what I've said.

No objection to Mr. Larsen’s or your comments nor am I choosing paths here, and of course, this is not a matter of right versus wrong comments. But its about sharing perspectives allowed on a comment page on the web site. I appreciate and think about the different perspectives of each one’s comments. Thank you for the comments.

Your comment reads to me that your assuming “Your Children” means born again children but when based on the context of Lucado’s prayer the audience “Your Children” is the human creation in general - the saved and unsaved. Many unsaved, I for one years ago, was taught as a child that “we are God’s children and God is our Daddy” Or, we are the created (the children) and God is the creator (the Father). Humanly speaking, “We are all God’s children” as the saying goes. I have heard of Lucado but never read his stuff. It does not read to me he is attempting to direct a path to salvation as you accurately described through the death and resurrection of Christ by using the manger scene. Again the Newtown massacre is an opportunity to BEGIN to reach out to those completely loss who NOW are emotionally distraught and open now to hear beyond their own lives without God. Salvation is through the death and resurrection of Christ, of course, not a manger scene. The Newtown massacre, just two weeks before Christmas, Lucado simply taking the opportunity to give hope intermingling Jesus’s dark world at His birth with our world today. If one comes to repentance then the rest of the story can be told. I like your web site. I will read more.
theshovel's picture

My dear friend, as stated in the title of my post: the audience doesn't make any difference. I understand the different viewpoints on that, but when it comes down to it, we have to ask ourselves why so many people who honor the Christmas story also oppose the grace brought by Christ.

I also thoroughly understand how people want to take the opportunity to reach out, but I have to wonder how often our attempts do more damage than they help. Sometimes the best thing to do may be to just sit and cry with those who cry, not to go out and preach. After all, religious history attests to one tragedy after another brought on by those who thought they were doing God's will.

As you are probably aware, I have interacted with many Christians who seem to know all the basic facts of Christianity ... but are confused about the simple reality of "Christ in you the hope of glory". From what I've seen, this is the norm, not the exception. What if in our attempts to use opportunities that we are also establishing the climate that keeps believers in the dark regarding the reality of their life in him? The lack of understanding comes from somewhere, and I think it's past time that we ask why that is.

I do hope to hear back from you. :)


What a bunch of nonsense! What offering of hope is there in emotional manipulation and fleshly expectations that are both subject to death? What foolishness!

Add new comment

Random Shovelquote: Feeling Unworthy and Ashamed (view all shovelquotes)

Our problem is that we are so easily made to feel unworthy, and therefore, ashamed to stand before him source