Is Our Heart Rent?

Joel 2:12-17 says, “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?”

It was with great sorrow in my heart that I once again have to piece together my sentiments on yet another senseless mass school shooting. This is close to my heart because it was just a little over two years ago when the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to ask Him for the high schools. Since that time, we have made connections with nearly five local high schools and actually held a full revival service in one local high school. We’ve seen school shootings in the news before, but three in the first five months of 2018 is absolutely outrageous. I have to say, I am perplexed—not about the solution, because I know the solution, but at how easy it is for us to just keep on going as if nothing ever happened. In case you have already forgotten, let me remind you:

• Jan. 23, 2018: A 15-year-old shot 18 people, killing two other 15-year-olds.
• Feb. 14, 2018: A 19-year-old gunned down students and staff, slaughtering 17.
• May 18, 2018: A 17-year-old killed 10 and wounded 10 others with a shotgun and a handgun.

Due to a quick responding school resource officer in Lexington Park, Maryland, another potential mass school shooting was stopped. These shootings that we are seeing sparking up with greater intensity than ever before are just a drastic outward manifestation of a much more severe problem. The issue is that God is not welcomed in our public school systems. He is allowed, and we are educating the public on how we can carry the gospel into the high schools, but the reality is, He is not welcomed.

Honestly, I don’t blame the schools. I don’t really blame the parents. Neither do I blame the teachers or coaches. And I certainly don’t blame the students. God will hold them all accountable, and they are all certainly accountable. But the truth is, God is not really trying to speak to them right now.

In the midst of all of this, God is trying to speak to His bride—the church. God is not telling us that we need safer schools, more gun laws, or police officers in every school. No, that’s not what God is saying. God is saying that we need to make this generation our priority in regards to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe if we weren’t concerned with having the largest youth group in our respective city, then we wouldn’t have become so entertainment-oriented, and we would be doing something about reaching our local schools.

Right now, God is asking the church in our country to turn to Him with its whole heart. In the text above, the Lord showed us what that looks like: there is fasting, weeping, and mourning. This is not what the modern church wants to hear, and maybe it really isn’t what we want to hear, but it is what we need to hear.

Joel told us that God is not looking for outward signs of sorrow and repentance; He is looking for inward sorrow and repentance. Where are the ministers who will weep between the porch and the altar? Where are the ministers who will say, “Spare thy people, O Lord?” Where is the brokenness? Why are we able to just go on about our business as if though nothing even happened? It is my prayer that we will be able to hear what God is saying to us in the midst of all of this.

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about author

Paris, accompanied by his wife Marybeth, coordinates and oversees <a href="">Crossfire Unite</a> fellowship groups. He is a regular teacher on SBN’s “<a href="">Generation of the Cross</a>” with Gabriel Swaggart. Paris is a workshop instructor and assists with Church Needs for the <a href="">International Youth Conference</a>, and he has been an evening professor at <a href="" target="_blank">Jimmy Swaggart Bible College</a> since the spring of 2017. He oversees all Crossfire Unite Student Outreaches. Paris also contributes writings to the <a href="">Crossfire Blog</a>.

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