A seven-year-old girl was killed in New Orleans this weekend as she lay sleeping in her bed. A stray bullet came through the wall of the apartment in which she lived, striking her in the neck, and she was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. Her mother described her as a typical little girl, “She talked about everything: Sponge Bob, Hannah Montana, everything on TV. She was the life of the party. She was just a beautiful, well-loved child." No suspects have been arrested and it appears to be the result of random violence; a violence the innocent little girl was not a part of until it found her sleeping peacefully on a Sunday morning.
In Fort Hood, a memorial service has been scheduled, and the crowd is expected to be over five thousand strong. Last week, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan fired more than 100 rounds, killing 13 people in a building on the base where deploying soldiers go through health screenings. Right now it appears as though a ‘blame game’ has begun in the media, rife with political correctness and the associated double-speak. However, the gut-wrenching aspects of the article I read were the comments from loved ones describing those that lost their lives in the attack. They were normal people; men and women with normal dreams, hopes, and plans for the future. They were people very much like you and me.
I wonder about both of these incidents, and I could have written of other tragedies this morning as the news reports are full of them these days. I wondered because it seems as though the seven-year-old and the faceless victims of Fort Hood were all apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time. But was it that simple? The little girl was innocent, and the brave soldiers at Fort Hood were young and full of life, ready and willing to serve their country. Why did this happen? How could a loving God allow this to take place? People are asking this question, you know. Is there an answer?
We live in a fallen world. From the time Adam and Eve first shared the forbidden fruit and continuing on through our present day, it has been so. The world is not going to get better, and people are not born ‘good’ in their natural state. We inherited sin and our fallen nature from Adam and there is no getting around that problem on our own. Sure, everyone is capable of doing good things, even extraordinary things at times, but the sinful condition that dwells within us will always rise to the forefront. It is waiting there in our hearts, simmering just below the surface. And it is not only people who find themselves in this state; it is all of creation that defines this fallen world in which we reside. Paul writes, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
Groaning and travailing. I should have used those words. It fits what we see in our world today to a tee. We see creation groan with each new earthquake or natural disaster, and travail with each epidemic or pandemic that arrives on the scene. But is it God who causes these things to take place out of vindictiveness or judgment, or is it the result of a world that is no longer what it was originally designed by its Creator to be? I’ll let you decide for yourself, but my mind has been made up on this subject for a long time now.
Whether we care to admit it or not, sin affects all of us. Even as Christians we do not receive a free pass to no longer sin or have sin influence our lives. Paul continues, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” We are stuck in our sinful bodies, with a carnal mind that if left unchecked can lead us to ruin or far worse. Our bodies are still part and parcel to the decaying world that we live in, despite the redemption of our souls through the perfect sacrifice Jesus provided for us.
But it will not always be this way and a better world is coming. Paul adds: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Then Paul closes the thought with, “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Oh for that day to come! I look forward to a time of deliverance from the ‘bondage of corruption’ that our fallen world finds itself in today. And it can’t happen soon enough for me.