Locking the Oval Office

Mar 25th, 2011 in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison
President Barack Obama meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office shortly after she was confirmed and sworn in, Jan. 21, 2009.

President Obama meets with Secretary of State Clinton in the Oval Office (Credit: Pete Souza)

“A massacre in Benghazi was prevented.”  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made this statement yesterday in assessing the military coalition which has been working to destroy Libyan air defenses.  Today’s Washington Post reports that the international coalition will now put NATO in charge of enforcing this no-fly zone.

While the Libyan conflict continues, opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is escalating.  This morning’s Reuters website tells us that security forces attacked protesters in the southern city of Deraa yesterday, killing at least 37 people.  Meanwhile, the air-traffic controller who fell asleep yesterday while two jets were landing at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport has been suspended, according to USA Today.  The jets landed just a few miles from the White House, the Capitol, and the Pentagon.

Yesterday we grappled with the hardest question Christians must face: if God is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful, why is our world the way it is?  Why must we face “wars and rumors of wars,” as Jesus predicted (Matthew 24:6)?  How can God allow one person to endanger hundreds of innocent airline passengers?

The simple truth is that the world does not work the way God designed it.  In the Garden of Eden we wouldn’t be having this conversation.  But from the time our first parents chose to rebel against their Creator, “the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:22).  We are fallen people living in a fallen world where death and sin are constant facts of life.

At New Orleans’ National World War II Museum I visited last weekend, I found an arresting statement displayed on one wall.  Pvt. Ken Webster, US 101st Airborne Division, wrote this letter to his mother:

“I am living on borrowed time…. If I don’t come back, try not to take it too hard.  I wish I could persuade you to regard death as casually as we do over here.  In the heat of the battle you expect casualties, you expect somebody to be killed, and you are not surprised when a friend is machine-gunned in the face.  You have to keep going.  It’s not like civilian life, where sudden death is so unexpected.”

In this fallen world, Jesus says to us, “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).  God is ready to redeem every hurt he has allowed you to experience and guide you through the valley of shadow of death to dwell in his house forever (Psalm 23:4, 6).  But he can lead only those who will follow.

Yesterday, President Obama returned to the White House to find that the door to the Oval Office was locked.  Is there a door in your life which is closed to your King?

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