On the Burning of Notre Dame…

Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire yesterday.
Some of it was salvaged.
Some of it was obliterated.

My news feed blew up as it happened.
People posting about when they had visited.
Or how they wished they had visited.
Its history.
Its beauty.
Its grandeur.

And I agree, it is very sad to see a landmark that has been around since the 1200’s destroyed. Or at least badly damaged.

But the thought that reverberates in my mind and heart is this:
It was going to burn one day, no matter what. It was simply a matter of timing.

The Bible is very clear that this world is NOT eternal.
God will destroy it Himself when the time is right.
John saw it happen in the final vision recorded in Scripture in Revelation 21:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (vanished), and there is no longer any sea.”

ALL of it will be gone – to be replaced by the new heaven and new earth.
All of the structures, both man-made and God-made.
All the things we treasure – houses and cars and clothes and jewelry and jobs and hobbies.
All of it.

But there is one eternal thing: people.
And there are two eternal destinies: heaven or hell.
Heaven for those who have declared their need for God, their inability to save themselves from their sin.
And hell for all those who have made themselves or something else their god, putting their faith in anything other than Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross.

So, while I think it is sad that Notre Dame burned, I am far, far more concerned about these facts, these things that are happening TODAY:

In Guatemala, twenty-one sexual abuse cases are reported each day. (Unicef, quoted in the March CAG newsletter)
And 10,000 rapes reported there annually. (And those are the ones that are reported!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_against_women_in_Guatemala

In Nigeria, from February through mid-March of this year, 280 people in Christian communities were killed in attacks by Boko Haram. https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/world/hundreds-of-christians-killed-in-nigeria-attacks

And across the world, in the past year:

4,136: Christians killed for faith-related reasons
2,625: Christians detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned
11: countries scoring in the “extreme” level for their persecution of Christians. Five years ago, North Korea was the only one.
(From Open Doors, opendoorsusa.com)

And right here in Charles County, Maryland, the place where I live, the stats say that there are over 32,000 people age 18 and under who do not know Jesus.

What is a girl (or guy) to do?
I am just one person in the middle of a tremendous need.
Just one.

But I am warrior.
Outfitted by the King of all Kings with armor that will not fail.
Eternal salvation as my helmet.
The breastplate of HIS righteousness guarding my heart.
Held together by HIS Truth around my waist.
My feet covered in preparation to take His message wherever He sends.
And the sword of His Word to battle the enemy of our souls and all his minions
But most of all, privileged to use the glue that holds it all together: prayer.
(Ephesians 6)

And so I fight.
I fight on my knees.
But I also fight with my wallet.
Giving first to my home church.
But then to those around the world who are being His hands and feet where I cannot go.

I fight on my knees.
But I also engage with others who don’t know Him, inviting them to find out more, showing them by my love how life was meant to be lived.
An invitation to church.
A cup of coffee shared.
A listening ear and a warm hug.
Loving them where they are – but speaking the Truth in love, helping them to the next step in their walk towards Him.

I fight on my knees.
I fight my own forgetfulness, striving to remember that only people are eternal.
I fight my selfishness, striving to put others’ interests ahead of my own agenda.
I fight my fear, striving to stand on the promises of God even when my eyes fail and my feet falter.

I am only one.
In a world filled with needs.
Filled with hurt.
Filled with horrors.

But I am not alone.
I stand on the side of the God Who Was and Is and Is To Come.
I fight for the cause of the Lamb of God, who was slain.
And I walk in the power of the fact that He did not stay dead but is the Risen, Living Lord.

What will you do this week, even though you are only one?
Will you invite that unsaved family member or friend to join you for Easter services?
Will you reach out in undeserved kindness to the unlovely person you know?
Will you forgive the unforgivable?
Will you fight on your knees, praying for those who don’t know Him?
Will you temper your words, guard your mouth and speak only the Truth in love?
Will you use your earthly goods for eternal causes, for the things that will not burn?

Because you and I are only one.
But imagine what would happen if each of us did whatever it is God is calling us to do for whoever He puts in our paths.
God used 11 men who fled in fear before the cross to transform the world after the resurrection.

How will He use you to do the same?

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