If you have followed the news lately, you might have seen various tragedies that have taken place worldwide. One such tragedy that has overtaken the headlines in America, and throughout the world is the horrible murders of 9 individuals in Charleston South Carolina. According to the news reports, a 21-year-old Caucasian male who purposely targeted an African Methodist Episcopal church with the intent to commit mass murder opened fire by shooting and killing 9 African-American individuals. It was a tragedy that took the United States and even those watching abroad back to the horrors of racism on display in such a diverse society.
It has been out of this tragedy that conversation has shifted back to race relations between blacks and whites in America. Much of this conversation has sparked anger, confusion, but also that of forgiveness and unity. It was the words of a victim’s family member that publicly expressed forgiveness towards the gunman who was responsible for taking 9 lives. In the statement of forgiveness, some have pondered how it was that someone could extend forgiveness for such a heinous crime. However, even with such forgiveness, there remains a scar within a nation that has had a troubled history regarding race and other issues for centuries.
How do we respond when we see senseless tragedies that occur on a daily basis? What is one to say when their nation is thrown backward into an upheaval that sparks hysteria and division? The answer lies in the one who has the ability to bring peace and direction, and that is the almighty God.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 it says:
(NIV) “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
In 2 Chronicles chapter 7, there is the account of King Solomon who has constructed a new temple, which was dedicated to God through animal sacrifice and worship. This passage says that Solomon consecrated the temple to the Lord and provided burnt offerings. As a result, the Lord was pleased with this dedication and He appears before Solomon in verse 12. In this verse it says,
(NIV) “the Lord appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.”
If you look at 2 Chronicles Chapter 6, verses 13-21, King Solomon is praying for the Lord to honor his Kingship and his ascendance to the throne. It was King David who was the Father of King Solomon, and it was Solomon’s earnest prayer that the Lord inhabit and bless the temple that he had constructed. It was also his supplication that God hear the prayer of the people of Israel. Going back to chapter 7 in verses 15-16 it says:
(NIV) “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” “I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”
What God is saying to Solomon is that because of the temple’s dedication and Solomon’s earnest prayer, He has and will honor his request. In verses 17-18, God gives Solomon conditions for his prayers being answered when He says that Solomon must be faithful in observing the decrees and laws that God has instituted. If he does so, then his throne will be established just as it was promised to King David.
This is important as it relates to what we are seeing in our world today. There are so many tragedies and moments of confusion that are taking place daily, because of humanity’s refusal to submit themselves unto God. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God gave the blueprint for humanity if they desired to see healing within their land. That blueprint involves a participation in turning away from one’s sins to follow after God in obedience.
Much of why we continue to see various acts of senseless tragedies both in America and worldwide is because, there are many who choose to live in sinfulness. America is a prime example of a country that has balked against the decrees of God. Sins such as homosexuality, murder, adultery, drunkenness, and all forms of disobedience are being endorsed and approved of. As a result, the nation of America has been thrown into confusion over various issues that continue to plague the society.
However, just as God promised King Solomon, there is a promise for anyone who decides to be faithful unto God in obedience. That promise is one of peace, and an attentive ear by God unto our prayers. A nation that endorses sin, and turns a blind eye to godly values, is a nation that cuts access to God’s willingness to answer prayer. To be clear, it isn’t just America that has shown examples of blatant sinfulness, but there are many nations that are choosing idolatry and sin over surrender and God’s way of peace. Verses 19-20 in 2 Chronicles chapter 7 gives us an example of what can and will happen to any nation that accepts sinfulness:
(NIV) “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land which I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated in my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all people’s”
In verse 21, God said that the temple would become a “heap of rubble”. What God said to Solomon was that if he chose to go in the opposite direction of being faithful and honoring unto God, then there would be consequences for the nation of Israel in addition to the temple being destroyed. This also included those who would make the choice to serve other gods. Even in today’s time, we can see both the blessings of any nation or group of people who follows after God and the curses that are caused by a degenerate and disobedient society. Some may wonder as to why the tragedy in Charleston South Carolina took place last week. There are even those who are still asking the question of why September 11th took place nearly 15 years ago.
Here is what can be deduced from various moments of tragedy and that is, God will often allow certain things to occur to get our attention. There are moments in which every nation receives judgment or warnings in order to bring order back into the land. What God stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is that anyone who makes a concerted effort to walk in humility and reject their sinful ways, He will provide healing and forgiveness. This invitation is open to both the sinner and the saint which means we all have an opportunity to see healing in our lives and in our nation. However, that healing can only come when we humble ourselves and seek the Lord for His ways.
The truth is, as the end times intensify, many nations including America will institute laws and precepts that defy God’s order. However, the good news is that anyone who chooses can remain in safety by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Any nation that promotes sin, is a nation that opens itself up to be cursed. Various examples both past and present point to the erosion that takes place when disobedience reigns. However, God always offers an alternative – that alternative is a life that is everlasting and full of joy. The world cannot give you true joy, because true joy comes from a life lived under obedience unto God and in Christ.
Are you looking for healing in your own life? Do you see the tragedies that occur everyday, which are results of the sinfulness that continues to exist? If you have not given your life to Christ, today is a great day to do so. He can and will give you peace that you would never be able to imagine, however it is up to you. Experience God’s healing and accept this gift of life. It only comes when you and I submit ourselves unto a Holy and loving God.