Bombs and Babies

I would knock the hell out of ISIS…[and] when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.  ~ Donald Trump (Time, December 2, 2015)

Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. ~ 1 Samuel 15:3

When [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Get up, he said, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old or under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more. ~ Matthew 2:16-18

Dear God:

I won’t pretend to understand all those Old Testament commands you issued–to kill and slaughter “beautiful babies”. I’ve wrestled with them all my life. From smashing tiny, fragile skulls against stones to the wholescale slaughter of the firstborn across Egypt, I have struggled to understand. I won’t lie to You, either. I have been outraged and angry when I hear your command to Abraham, even though I know how the story ends… because Abraham didn’t know. Nor did Isaac, bound beneath the glinting knife.

I don’t understand.

But I know Your voice when I hear it. And I heard it when you sent the angel to Joseph and sent Your Son into Egypt, not as a slave, but as a refugee, at the mercy of others.

I heard it when Your Son spoke to Jairus’ daughter:  Taulitha koum.

I heard it when Your Son scolded his disciples, “Forbid them not… for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.”

I have wept for Isaac. For the firstborn of Egypt. For the innocents of Bethlehem. For the children of ISIS and Syria…

Because I heard your voice speaking when Your Son said, “But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you.”

I won’t pretend to understand all those Old Testament commands to slaughter and destroy even the children… and I suppose one day, standing in Your Holy Presence, I may find the courage to ask You… but for now I struggle and I listen for Your voice which still speaks through Your Son and I know–I know— that bombs are not your way.

Whatever brokeness and sin brought us to places where death and destruction seemed the only way, it was never where You meant us to be. It was never what you intended when You created us. And it was not what Your Son died on the cross for…

Your world was never meant to mix bombs and babies.

And this is why I weep today.

Love, your heartbroken and weary daughter,

Amanda Gayle

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