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"For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." I lived on the banks of a river . . . and it captured my attention. These are my observations about the parallels between my life...and the river.

Monday, May 02, 2011

A Somber Celebration

Today is a big day for America.

Or rather, late last night was.

Sunday, May 1, 2011 -- the day Osama bin Laden was killed. The day justice was served for the atrocity of September 11, 2001. Nearly a decade later.

I must admit, I was not watching television last night when President Obama came on to deliver his special news report. I was sound asleep. Some patriot, huh? :) But we didn't get an advance warning of the planned attack, so how were we to know that we should be watching TV at 10:30pm?

Part of me is a bit envious of those that were mindlessly watching TV at that moment -- those that heard the "Stay tuned for an important message from the President of the United States of America" interruption.

Yet part of me is relieved. I have a brother-in-law in the army currently stationed overseas with my sister and nephew. I can only imagine the terror that would have run through my veins at that message, and the unbearable wait until President Obama came on to speak.

So how did I feel this morning, when I finally figured out what everyone was talking about? Hmmmmm, it was a very bittersweet feeling. The first word that came to mind was, "Finally....."

But "Finally...." what? Finally there will be an end to al Qaeda? I doubt it. In fact, the following thought was, "Oh my God, what will happen next?!" What kind of retaliation will befall America now?

But they started it!

My mind argued with itself all the way to work. I just couldn't figure out how I felt. Or how I was supposed to feel.

As a follower of Jesus Christ we're supposed to forgive our enemies, to love those who persecute us. "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay!" saith the Lord....and all of that.

I heard stories of people staying up all night, filling the streets, cheering and shouting "USA! USA! USA!"

I didn't know WHAT to feel.

Nothing made sense, nothing felt right. And as I read the news stories later in the day, how one of his wives identified his body to US soldiers and confirmed his identity, I found myself thinking, "This man had a family. As much as he was a monster, he had a family. How must they feel right now? Are they relieved? Did they know him as a monster? Did they know how many families he destroyed through his attacks?"

As you may realize by now (especially if you've read much of this blog), my mind often thinks WAYYYYY too much.

So now, at the end of the day, I find myself praying that God would have mercy on his soul. What does that mean, that I want to share Heaven with him? No, not really. And yet, God is sovereign, and I believe that He knows the turmoil of our hearts. And yes, He will repay anything due to Osama bin Laden as a result of the life he lived while on this earth.

And I do not need to hold onto any anger or vengeance in my heart for the man, because if we were to stand together in front of the throne of Heaven, neither one of us would be found righteous. It is only by the blood of Jesus Christ that I can be found worthy to be received into His kingdom. Not by any righteous works of my own.

May God comfort the families of those lost in 9/11, may He bring peace and closure to their hearts, and may He bring healing and peace to the war-torn countries that have been affected by bin Laden's leadership and teachings.