As countless thousands pray for the end to the bloody violence along the border of United States and Mexico, I wonder how God will answer our prayer?
Several weeks ago as I was praying and meditating about the violence, I read these words in Psalm 10
12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
As I read these words I could identify with the plea “break the arm of the wicked man.” This intercession called on the God of heaven to come down to bring justice to the land, and to defend the fatherless.
A few days ago, Mexican police officials announced the capture of Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, alias “El Farmero,” who claimed to be responsible for 80% of the deaths in the drug war on the streets of Juarez including gunning down American Consulate workers, and a massacre of fifteen teenagers at a birthday party. If he is telling the truth there is the blood of hundreds of people on his hands.
Of course the officials celebrate this capture, but they know all too well there is another violent leader waiting in the shadows. We need to pray that those who take his place will not have the thirst for revenge and violence that “El Farmero” possessed. We need to pray these men and women plotting violence will see vividly the bloody road they have chosen, and turn away from the violence for the sake of their families and community–for their very own lives.
At Christmas, we celebrate the coming of the “Prince of Peace” into our world as a tiny homeless baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. When God confronted the violence of our world, He chose not to move in power and force, but rather love and grace.
The bloody cross of Jesus confronts us with the realities of hatred and violence. The cross also reveals the glory of grace and love. I pray Arturo will come to faith in Jesus. I pray he will turn from his wicked ways. I pray he will find love rather than the wrath of God.
We must not forget the LORD is not powerless, and as the Psalmist wrote:
16 The LORD is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.
I pray for the day when “mere mortals will never again strike terror.”