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I should be celebrating....Right?

As I write this, it's been exactly 24 hours since I first heard that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by our military. Within a few minutes of the announcement, I went from feeling relieved to feeling sad. The sadness was a result of the chest-thumping I was seeing all across Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other forms of instant communication.

As this went on, all I could think was: Once again, we missed it. We had a chance to be humble, to pray, to acknowledge God's sovereignty, and we blew it. And it's not the first time. About 9 1/2 years ago, right after the attacks of September 11, our nation went from Point A --shocked by a sucker-punch-- to Point B--chest-thumping,  in very short order.

We should have been humbled as a nation. We should have taken the hint God was giving us, and laid down before Him, repenting, acknowledging that He is in control, and we blew it.

We puffed out our collective chest and announced to the world that we're too good to be brought down. That, in the words of Toby Keith, we'll put a boot in your ass. It's the American Way.  We are still Number One, and we're going to show the world who's boss. Sadly, we still think the boss is us. We had the perfect chance to learn who the Boss really is, and we missed it.

To be clear, I am not saying God caused 9/11 to happen. It was a demonic act, planned and perpetuated by a couple of dozen evil men. But God has a way of using these opportunities. He certainly used the evil Chaldeans to not only make the Israelites into captives, but to even reduce Jerusalem to rubble in the process. Their problem was idolatry, so God brought them to the place where idolatry started, in the form of the Tower of Babel. Think the United States has a problem with idolatry today?

In the fall of 2001, we missed our chance to hear what God was saying. National pride has its place, but this kind of pride does not. Our post-9/11 reaction was prideful. Now, a decade later, the bad guy has been put to death, and we're still as prideful as ever. We've gone from appreciating that the serpent's head was bitten off (an acceptable response) to gloating. To flexing our national biceps. To holding up our index finger yelling "We're Number One!" as if our favorite college team just won a championship.

In short, we took the focus off of Him, and put ourselves back onto Center Stage. 

How can we, as a nation, put God back where He belongs? How can we honor Him with our response?

Psalm 51:15 "O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise."

This is not the time for fist-pumping. It's a time for prayer. It's a time for owning up to our idolatry. It's a time for recognizing that we are not our own god, and we are certainly not as in control of our fate as we think we are. Let's don't miss it this time. If we do, the God who can bring a nation to its knees might decide to get our attention some other way. That's not a prophecy. It's not a prediction. I hope I'm wrong. I fear I'm not.


Anonymous said…
It's no surprise to see most of our people acting this way. They have no relationship with God and so have no reason to act otherwise. It would only be truly sad if there were believers acting like this. After all, God says, "I take no delight in the death of the wicked." His desire is for them to come to repentance. I'm sure it was HIS patience that allowed Osama to escape a far superior enemy bent on killing him for more than a decade. Of course, that would be un-American to say. After all, religion is "us" versus "them" and God is on "our" side not "theirs". No wonder God had turn his face away from Messiah when he took our sin. It's just too ugly to look at.

grace - rj
Anonymous said…
Didn't God also say, "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot"
James said…
I fear you missed my point entirely. This is not about whether or not it's OK to kill Bin Laden. This is about whether it's OK to cheer and celebrate.
Ryan Rasberry said…
Sobering words, James. Well put!

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