Does the adjective poignant do justice to that powerfully tender spectacle we beheld on the evening of February 28, A.D. 2017?
With the eyes of America focused upon Carryn Owens, she stood tall in the Hall of the House of Representatives. With her own eyes focused heavenward, their tears streamed down her cheeks. Though consumed with sorrow, she quietly expressed her love for her departed husband, Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, killed in action…heroic action in the midst of that bloody violence known as war.
As President Trump remarked, the interruption to his first address to a joint session of Congress caused by sustained applause for Mrs. Owens probably broke a record for duration. Here was standing ovation unity, however fleeting. In an attempt to render due honor to Senior Chief Owens and his widow, most of our elected legislators and most of the leaders from the other two branches of our federal government came together, if only for a moment.
Who can sufficiently describe the horror and tragedy of war in all its hideous forms and effects? This writer’s purpose is neither to attempt to do so, nor to morbidly dwell upon it. Rather it is to offer the only compelling explanation for its very existence, and to proclaim the remedy for it.
And don’t be disappointed by that bold claim, for it is not a remedy which originates in diplomacy or any other human wisdom. Among the many astounding truth claims of the holy Bible, this is one which is readily demonstrable. The adjective alleged surely does justice to the sincerity of any claim to skepticism about this truth.
The race which produced Louis Pasteur and the tools by which we successfully treat diseases caused by microscopic invaders into our bodies cannot prevent its members from savagely invading one another…why? The race which put its footprints on the dusty surface of the moon cannot keep off its own necks the vicious lacerations caused by combat boots…why? Humanity has never eradicated war, hatred, greed, selfishness and other evils which we all claim to loathe…why?
The answer is what the Bible calls sin. Wicked depravity in all the parts of our being is our natural condition from conception onward. We are not born with a “clean slate.” We are not like the holy angels, but are creatures fallen from the original wholesome purity with which our first parents were created. From the darkness of our innermost beings we constantly reject our Creator and His just and good law, a law designed for our greatest happiness. Let’s face it, we are fiends.
One place among many where the Scriptures teach about this tragic and universal human estate and assert that warfare flows from it is James 4:1,2. “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”
At what time and place in all of human history is this not readily observable? We can trace the historical circumstances of the origins of wars, but does not the Bible’s assessment of our basic human condition get to the root problem of every case? The Bible charges all of us as sinners: rebels, ingrates, selfish brutes.
The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one. (Psalm 14:2,3)
For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin. (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. Thankfully, God did not leave us all to perish. Thankfully, there is a Savior, the only Man Who IS sinless and Who is also more than a man…the Son of God, uniquely capable and almighty to save. He took upon Himself the divine punishment due to sinners, that they might be reconciled to God in a just way.
TODAY is the day of salvation, NOW is the time to call upon JESUS. A peace with God which begets peacemakers among men can be had during this time of grace…this time while God is exercising amazing forbearance toward and patience with His enemies. Seek Him before He brings all things to the glorious renewal He has in store. Hear him before He ushers in the consummation of history, destroying unrepentant sinners, warfare, and all other ugly consequences of sin forever.
America, let widow Carryn’s tears be an emblematic irrigation to soften the ground which is the hardness of our wicked hearts. Let those dead to God receive, by His life giving grace, His free remedy for the bellicose passion and its rotten fruit which is our common lot and which leads to that second, irremediable death called hell. Be reconciled to Him Who says:
Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)
“O God, as the seed of the Gospel of Your Son is sown abroad by Your mighty Spirit, let it bear enduring fruit. As we pray ‘Your kingdom come’ we look with expectancy to the final and glorious coming of the Prince of Peace Who then will render perfect justice and wipe away every tear from the eyes of those who trust in Him and have longed for His appearing.
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely! (Revelation 22:17)