People say there are a few moments in history where you will never forget where you were when you heard the news. I've heard Pearl Harbor and JFK's assassination listed as two. Still a third is September 11, 2001.
I still remember that infamous day in 2001 clearly.
He was excited. As though war was like it was in the movies: Private Ryan always gets found and delivered home. And yet, it was a strange day, nonetheless.
9/11, as it has conveniently been labeled in remembrance of the first responders who lost their lives running into a collapsing building, unfolded with the emergence of terrorist activities being taught in history books starting the next year. It was like the light went on for America: that there were people out there who did not like "us."
And now, Osama bin Laden, the poster child for terror inflicted on America over the last ten years, was killed yesterday. Initially, I, like many others rejoiced that perhaps some Americans could sleep a little easier that night knowing our country had one less person threatening it. But as I have reflected on the events of Easter, and what happens when religious extremists are killed, I can't help but slow myself down from joining the parade of glee over bin Laden's death. Do not read that as me comparing Jesus to bin Laden; I was just intrigued by the rejoicing our country is doing right now, and how it must have been similar in Jerusalem among the Romans when Jesus was crucified: indeed, perhaps the Romans would have said, "finally, we can sleep a bit easier knowing there is one less religious lunatic out there threatening our perfect world."
God grieves when an unsaved person enters eternity separated from the Love of God. Ezekial 33:11 says, "Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’" And if I am to be more like God and align my heart with his perfect heart and will, then I ought to grieve too: not just for bin Laden, but for the 88 year old grandfather who passed from natural causes who was also was not saved, and also for the 10 year old killed by a drunk driver who never got to go to youth group to hear the good news.
If anything, bin Laden's death gives me an increased sense of urgency to reach and save the lost.
And so while people all over the world are celebrating as though the Wicked Witch of the West is dead, singing songs of jubilee, I am going to grieve those who I could have reached with the Gospel, but instead have entered eternity apart from God. Because nobody is too far from the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, that even this evil of a man was untouchable by the never failing love of God. If you don't believe me, talk to my friend, the Apostle Paul.