President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said about the day Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, that it would be a day that will live in infamy." This past Monday, April 15, 2013, the day of the Boston Marathon Bombing, will be thought of similarly in history.
On that day we shook our heads in shock and sadness as we asked ourselves, "Who could do such an act of evil against innocent people?" As of this writing, they have identified the suspects and there is a massive manhunt in the suburbs of Boston against one while the other has been killed. Though we may be in the process of answering the question of who is behind it, we are a long way from beginning to comprehend how people could have hearts so full of hatred and evil that they could take the lives and limbs of innocent by-standers (including small children). Indeed, we will never really understand such a criminal mind and nefarious heart.
This act of violence, along with the ricin mailings this week, is deeply unsettling. How should we respond to acts of terror and violence such as these? The Psalmist posed this question, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3). But then the Psalmist offers an answer. He suggests-
First, take refuge in the Lord. He says, "In the Lord I take refuge" (Psalm 11:1). Our challenges may be great; our Lord is greater. So we must find strength and courage in the Rock of our salvation. In another place, the Psalmist said, "I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is my right hand, I will not be shaken" (Psalm 16:8).
Secondly, examine ourselves in the midst of our crisis. "The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates" (Psalm 11:4-5). Doesn't it stand to reason that if God is examining us in the midst of a crisis that we should do the same? Difficult times give us a window to our souls that we might not have otherwise. I think this is true of us as a nation and on a personal level. I remember well the soul- searching and spiritual renewal which took place after 9/11. Though it was short-lived for many-still for others it was life-changing. If nothing else, traumatic national experiences provide us knowledge of our abiding need for God in our lives. And there is more we can learn...
Finally, live upright and just lives before our Maker. "For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face" (Psalm 11:7). Blessings come in time to those who live right even when so much wrong abounds. Determine to always seek to do what is right.
What about justice? The Psalmist says about the Lord, "He loves justice" (Psalm 11:7) and so should we! Society has a right and responsibility to seek justice. Edmund Burke once said, "Evil prospers when good men do nothing." There is sacrifice with the pursuit of justice but there is a heavier price to pay if we don't seek justice. The anger that we all feel toward the perpetrators of this act of violence should find expression through societal justice. This is what is right and just. May it be swift and sure!
Thoughts to Consider,