Do tragedies make it “easier” to preach the gospel?

“… and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4

Words cannot begin to capture the heart-rending agony that so many of us are feeling over the senseless deaths of so many innocents in Newtown, CT just a few days ago.

In the intervening hours between then and now, a tweet posted by Seventh-day Adventist Christian ministry It Is Written (@itiswritten) sparked an interesting debate between pastors which highlighted a very important question for all of us who seek to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in times that are seen by a number of groups – for varying reasons – as the end times.
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Some took offense to the wording of the tweet, stating that the use of the word “easy” was insensitive and offensive, and implying that the tweet betrayed a lack of compassion.

Should we use the events happening in the world around us to point people toward the gospel?  If we do, what if outsiders construe our actions as a form of cold opportunism or a lack of compassion?

Is it insensitive to see tragic events as a kind of evangelistic opportunity?  I’ve heard it said that while Christmas Day was not Jesus’ historical birthday, the general good will that prevails during the season might mean that some hearts are more receptive to hear the truth of the Gospel.  Is it insulting or somehow callous to say that the same is true after such terrible tragedies?  What could be more compassionate than telling hurting people about the hope of the Gospel?

The fact is that God does tell us in His word that these things are going to happen with more and more frequency toward the close of earth’s history; that we are called to fight against the Satanic propaganda that blames God for tragedies; that events like these reenforce our case against that deceptive ideology.  Jesus is relevant.  His message provides real help and real hope even in life’s most difficult moments.  He holds the only solution that will fully satisfy our aching hearts.

God already has a plan in place that will resoundingly, completely, finally answer not just the injustice and pain of this tragedy, but of every other tragedy that has taken place since Abel died at the hands of his brother.  Christ’s solution is the solution that the heart of every victim, every survivor of tragedy longs for: the dead innocents resurrected, the cruel wicked punished, the death of hate, violence and selfishness, the extinction of heartache and suffering.  Love conquering all.  Life consuming and obliterating death.  The Almighty God of the universe personally wiping away the tears of every weary eye.

There is a hope.  There is a way to right even the most heinous wrongs.  The fact that we don’t yet see the answer played out, that God is biding His time, does not mean He’s forgotten even one single tear.

God knows that the answer isn’t a new government or a new political system in this world; the answer is a new world altogether.  Deep down, we know it too.  That new world is the consummation of the hope of the Gospel, and it must be the message that we can’t help but share.

The mounting tragedies and attacks against that which is most sacred in life can serve a greater purpose – but only if we let God use us to bring many souls to salvation through them.  Make no mistake – these events are the direct doing of Satan, not God.  But if we don’t seize these moments to advance the cause of Christ .. ?  I shudder even to consider the outcome.

Is it easy to preach Christ’s plan of salvation, justice and restoration in a world full of horrific evil?  For those of us who know the hope of the Gospel, it certainly should be.

Why people don’t give Jesus a chance

No one has ever proven their love for you more profoundly and completely than the Son of God. Maybe you don’t want to open your heart to Jesus because you fear that if you really contemplated who He is, and what He’s done for you, you’d fall in love with Him.  That has been my experience, and I highly recommend it.

Romans 2:4 NASB

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

John 12:32 NASB

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

Don’t hate yourself because of your sin.

Don’t hate yourself for your sin. You are a sinner, but God valued who you are so much that He died so He could redeem you and work in your life. He knew you would make mistakes, but He didn’t choose to throw you away.  He wants to SAVE you, and save the parts of you that truly define the real you (which is NOT your sinfulness).  There are things about you that make you truly unique and special, apart from the mistakes you’ve made, and THOSE are the things that make God so CRAZY ABOUT YOU.  Those are the reasons He said, “I just can’t give you up.”  He knows He can HEAL your sin and brokenness and TRANSFORM you into that person that you so desperately long to be.

Jesus loves you so much, just as you are. Come to His feet in your heart, right now.

I beg You, please, remember me.

Lord Jesus Christ, I feel like that thief hanging on the cross next to you.  I am completely helpless, with absolutely no way out of my present situation. I can do absolutely nothing without you. All I can do is come to you. Sit at your feet like a hungry child.  Reach for the hem of your garment like that woman with the hemorrhage. Letting go of my anxieties and all the things I try to earn on my own, I open my hands, my empty hands, and just wait for you to fill them with yours.  Lord, without you I can do nothing.  I simply wait upon you. I wait for your mercy and your grace and your love.  And I know that the rest depends upon an action of your will. I know that I have reached the end of my capabilities.  I am tied up and hanging on that cross.  You are my only hope now.  I beg you, please, remember me.

Note from your secret admirer

Passing along a message from your secret admirer…

You don’t really know me, but I know you.  I couldn’t let this Valentine’s day pass without taking this opportunity to express what I feel for you.

I’ve tried so many times to get your attention, to win your love with grand gestures and small tokens just to let you know I’m thinking about you. But you don’t seem to notice. Have you ever loved someone who didn’t feel the same for you?

The thing that breaks my heart the most is seeing that you would rather give your heart to someone who hurts you than to give it to me. Nobody could ever love you like I do.  If those whose attention you so idolize could really know you, they might not feel the same way about you; but I’ve seen your worst and I’m still crazy about you.

Have you ever loved someone so much you thought you would rather die than be without them?

You have no idea how many times you’ve rejected me. Most sane people would have given up on you by now. But I can’t. I can’t get you out of my head. Every time my heart beats, it just seems to scream your name.

So I’m asking. I’m asking one more time, hoping that you will give me that one chance. Don’t believe everything you’ve heard about me.  Please, just get to know me for yourself. Read my letters.  I wrote them for you.

I’m still here for you, waiting. 

Knocking.

And when mortal words fail, I fall back on these….

I love you. I love you. I love you!!!!

Please call me.

– Jesus