Heath Rainwater is lead pastor at Grace Point NW Church
With Christmas fast approaching I was excited to share an article I was writing called “Immanuel – God With Us!”
In light of recent events, I felt my article fell short in bringing the relevance of Christ’s birth to the month and day we now live. The voice of the church must be relevant as much as it must be grounded in truth and love. So I decided to speak from my heart as well as God’s word.
The terrorist attack that took place in San Bernardino last week marks the eighth Islamist terrorist attack on United States soil during the seven years of the Obama administration. In this most recent attack 14 innocent Americans lost their lives and our country’s sense of normal and safety has been changed yet again.
As a human, I am so saddened by the loss of life and as a citizen I am alarmed by the rise of evil terrorist attacks worldwide and now right in our own country. I am equally alarmed by the reluctance and even refusal of our government to admit that America is at war with radical Islamic terrorism. Whether we are talking about the 2009 attack at Fort Hood by a radical Islamist that killed 13 and wounded 30 others, the 2012 attack by Islamist militants on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, the Boston Marathon bombing or even the attack in San Bernardino, the current administration all but refuses to admit that these were terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens by radical Islamist terrorists. Instead, they seem more bent on deflecting the real issues to support their own political agendas.
There is no coincidence this attack last week happened at a Christmas celebration by attackers who see Christians as worthy of death. Why then is this administration talking about “gun control” and “mass shootings” rather than the blaring issue of terrorism and the reality that war is being waged by radical Islam against Christians and every American citizen?
As a Christian, my heart has been captured by God’s relentless love and now rests in the hope, peace and grace found in Jesus Christ. I stand rooted in the very faith that first spawned this great nation. I have confidence that God loves me, he has saved me, he protects me and he is for me. Our country was built on this faith. Our faith and declaration as a nation was in the name of Jesus. We were and are a Christian nation, which is our heritage. We were blessed and protected because we were a country under the protection and providence of Almighty God. King David wrote in Psalm 127:1, “…Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
In other words, our greatness and our protection come from God.
As a nation we have drifted and now have turned away from the God we once professed. We have pushed God and his word out of our schools and workplaces. We have pushed him out of our laws and practices. We have relegated him to an insignificant corner of our lives and we have forgotten that without him we are nothing.
Most alarmingly we have allowed our leaders to stand before the world and proclaim that the United States is no longer a Christian nation. That is despicable and they don’t speak for me. When leading the Children of Israel, Joshua had to remind them of their heritage and all God had done for their people saying, “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve….But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
It is clear that our hope will never be found in Democrats or Republicans. Our hope is found in the king of kings, in a savior who was born in a manger. Our hope is found in Immanuel…God With Us! If God is with us who can be against us?
Our leaders and we the American people must humbly turn our hearts back to God and profess once again that we are a Christian nation and we put our trust in God alone. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
The birth of Immanuel brought hope to all mankind. He came to establish his kingdom on earth and save us from our sins and all of our enemies. His kingdom will never fall and he will reign forever and ever. Call on his name and celebrate his birth and victory on the cross this Christmas season. That my friend is why the Christmas season is marked with love, peace, joy and hope! They are all found in Immanuel…God With Us!