It is so altered from the one I grew up in.
I don’t recognize my country anymore either though.
We have taken our freedoms for granted and have pushed the envelope of freedom so far that we now censor the very freedom we hold most dear: our right to have an opinion.
Now fear has become the pink elephant in the room of every conversation, whether it be around the water cooler at work, on or Capitol Hill, or in a well-intended but ill-received Facebook post. We fear the repurcussions of the freedom of having an opinion. Because in the world today and in our country today, there are real repurcussions for having one. You will offend someone if you are liberal, you’ll offend someone if you’re conservative. You’ll offend if you’re gay, straight, Muslim, or Christian. You’ll offend if you say Happy Holidays, or if you dare to say Merry Christmas.
And it’s all just confusion and utter chaos.
But as a believer in the God of the Bible, in the person of Jesus Christ, I am told and I believe that though He will always get the blame, God is not the author of confusion. But His Enemy sure is. And it appears His Enemy is winning.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
As an advocate for many causes and injustices, It is hard for me to stay silent. The question rolling around in my head as I try to navigate life in the midst of impending terror is this,
“How now shall we live?”
Is it wisdom to allow terror to shape my life? What am I teaching my child if I do?
Do I buy annual theme park passes? Is that exposing my younger children to danger? Do I cancel our anniverary trip to NYC? Do I even dare to go to church and worship?
When my boys were young, my greatest fear was allowing them to play outside and them being taken from me by a stranger. Today, it is knowing they go to movie theaters, concerts, sporting events, malls, theme parks, all places which are fodder for terror.
How do I live knowing that innocent outing could claim their innocent lives?
Terror, fear, it’s all like an aggressive cancer. Once you find it, it has been well on its way for quite some time destroying your body and wreaking havoc on your life. After its found, it seems to move ahead with a vengeance.
Terror has been alive and well for centuries. As Americans, we have been shielded from it.
It was there, even plotting against us, being so devoted to its cause, it was willing to do something we don’t do well, wait.
Waiting for the right time, the most opportune time, to launch its deadly reign. God’s Enemy, Satan, also waits for an opportune time and you’d have to be an ostrich with your head in the sand to not see the similarities between the two factions: terror and God’s Enemy.
And what better disguise to come in than religion? It’s like the wolf who disguised himself as Red Riding Hood’s grandma. Familiar but deadly.
If you think Jesus came to establish religion, you know nothing of Him at all. He came to abolish it and insert in its place, Immanuel. The “with-us” of God. The relational, but holy God, who sent His Son to redeem the brokenness we brought into the wolrd when we chose to to seek our own divinity instead of His.
So, how now shall we live?
The answer is simply, that we must live.
The God of the Bible tells us that He sets before us life and death, and He implores us to choose LIFE. Why? So that we and our descendants may live.
I have to decide with every place I go, and every trip I take, and every time I drop my child off at school, if I will choose life or death.
Will I choose to live this one life or will I live every day dying? Dying a slow death of fear and of terror lurking around the corner?
I am also told by the God of the Bible that all of my days are numbered before one of them came to be. All of them. Numbered. BEFORE one of them came to be.
So if today is my day, then I will die whether I am a victim of terror or I have an acciident in my home. This is what I believe. You don’t have to agree. We don’t have to see eye-to-eye on this. But this is my Truth. And this Truth gives me the strength to LIVE.
How do the choices of others, the terrorist, the drunk driver, play into this? I don’t know exactly, I’m not God. But I know God knows. I do not have a mind that can comprehend how the repurcussions of the fall, and my free will, and your free will, and the crazed intentions of a Muslim extremist all fit into my numbered days, but somehow they do. And I’m very un-American in that I don’t need to know. I just need to know my God is with me, and He’s with my loved ones. To be absent here is to present there, with Him.
So, how now shall I live?
I shall live while it is now.
Now is the gift. And yes, it may seem corny, but that is why it’s called the present. I will not allow a Bully of any proportions to dictate my life. I will do it afraid. I will go afraid. I will have courage.
Courage is not the absence of fear, it is living in the face of it.
And that is our America. That is our new normal.That is the New World Order. Not living in fear.
But living in spite of it.