This is the letter I will be sending to family and friends this year:
I started to write an end of the year letter a few weeks ago. I even got several paragraphs written. It has all become rather meaningless over the last few days in the light of the heart-wrenching tragedy being experienced by other families in Connecticut right now. So, I hope you won’t mind if I send you a few paragraphs concerning some of the thoughts that come to mind over this tragedy instead of a letter about my life and about what my kids are doing these days. We’ve been busy this year, we’re all fine, and that’s about it.
And God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7
It is the breath of God that came into Adam on that day and the same breath that continued to breathe through Adam’s children and grandchildren on down through all the following generations. Without that breath of life, he was just a lump of dust. It’s the same with us, his many times great grandchildren and that makes us all the children of the living God. So, what gives? The events of this year, and especially the events of the past few days, make us pause and reflect on what on earth is going on.
You could say that there are many causes. You could blame assault rifles and violent video games and the absenteeism of working parents who are too busy to take care of their children or to teach them the values that they themselves were taught, or were supposed to have been taught. However, the fact of the matter is that many of God’s children either don’t know or have forgotten who they are. They are not living like children of an awesome and loving king, God. They’re living like derelict bums. That is the tragedy.
It is as if the world has taken on two natures. Part of humanity seems to be speeding towards God, hoping to find Him more each day, but increasingly more numbers are enticed by the glitz of a worldly life and are as a result speeding in the opposite direction, becoming more unlike Him every day. To become more like God, one becomes more beautiful and more brilliant and if that’s true, then the opposite must also be true that those who are heading in the wrong direction are becoming more and more insane and hateful. We can see that in the news on a daily basis. Perhaps that is the meaning of “the valley of decision.” We must all go through it and decide for ourselves which way we will go.
We have been greatly blessed in our family to have our parents and children and grandchildren finding God and seeking after Him. We have discovered the immense power of prayer and how things absolutely change because of it.
Over the last few days, I can see how God grieves for the innocent lives snuffed out meaninglessly by one so selfish and callous. Some call such people disturbed and say that there could be a personality disorder. We have experienced a relative with what may have been called a “personality disorder,” but he didn’t pick up a rifle and shoot people. In fact, through the power of prayer, he spent his last years on earth a happy and well liked person. Prayer can do that.
This nation and this earth are in their valley of decision. We need to turn our prayers to our greater family, the brothers and sisters with whom we share the same breath of life. We are all brothers and sisters and it’s so sad that our brothers would hate us enough to want to kill us and more importantly that they would hate their own eternal Father. They have no clue how much He longs for them to turn back to Him. Above all, we need to maintain faith: faith that God will lead us if that’s what we’re praying for, faith that we will continue on this path, and faith that our children will find a way to reject this world’s evil when their day comes in that valley of decision.
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision … Joel 3:14
So, may we all spend this season joyously in that we know who we are, gratefully because we know who it was that saved us, and yet a little bit more soberly since we know that there is yet so much lacking both in us and in our country. Let’s pray that we all in our nation and our brothers and sisters in other nations will humble ourselves as it says so beautifully in the Scriptures:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14