Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)
How am I to respond? I am torn. On the one hand, I am an American. I feel some allegiance to the flag, and am so grateful for the many blessings that come with freedom. I am reminded that freedom is never free. I have such appreciation for those who either made the ultimate sacrifice, or were willing to do so. I want our borders to be secure. I want to continue assembling without fear. I love U.S. History. I want to live in the United States of America more than any other place on earth… so I am experiencing a measure of satisfaction and excitement at the news of Bin Laden’s death announced last night. We win.
As a human, my heart is drawn to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. I think of those who lost family and friends in the war on terror. I am sobered by their loss and inexplicable pain and suffering. Is there redemption for them? Do they feel justice has been done? Does this bring closure? Those interviewed say “Yes.” But my heart tells me “No.” I am torn.
Finally, I experience this news most profoundly as a follower of Jesus Christ. While I am comforted at the thought that bin Laden was given the opportunity to surrender (he chose not to do so therefore his death ultimately was his own doing), I am most troubled by the reaction of the American people. We claim to be a Christian nation, yet the news footage of rejoicing in the streets had me squinting to see if this was a replay of other nations in the aftermath of 9/11. We look no different than all the other nations. Isn’t that the antithesis of what followers of Jesus are to be?
Jesus asked His Father to forgive those who killed Him. He taught us that we love those who hate us, and pray for those who persecute us. My allegiance is to the Cross, and not to a flag. I must experience these moments most profoundly as a Christian, more than a citizen or human. Our battle is not against flesh and blood.
So I am torn in three. And while I am certain that the days ahead will be filled with trouble and sorrow, I know the Lord Jesus triumphed on the Cross with love for sinners like me. He had no malice in Him, and endured opposition with joy. The joy of seeing sinners like me who would have called for His death, who now call Him Savior and Lord. His love, words and power are now the dominant force in my life.
Until He returns, or I breath my last breath, I know I will be torn. May He be glorified in my heart and mind. May He carry the day. And no one or nothing else.