It is not enough for us to restrain from doing evil,
unless we shall also do good.
(Kayla Mueller before being kidnapped by ISIS)
In February of 2015, 4 long years ago, I wrote two posts about the abducted American
aid worker Kayla Mueller.
I wrote about her again in 2016 when her ISIS abductors finally killed her.
You can say what you want.
You can say that she was foolish for going into such a volatile area.
You can blame what happened to her on her own choice and actions.
You can blame President Trump…becuase you always blame President Trump.
Because don’t we blame President Trump on all our ills?
But President Trump was not president when Kayla was abducted.
President Trump was not president when ISIS emailed Kayla’s parents demanding a ransom.
President Trump was not president when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi personally tortured
and raped Kayla over and over again.
Put yourself in the shoes of Kayla’s parents, her brother, her grandparents.
What and how would you feel knowing your daughter was being so utterly abused
and your own government was not there for you and you were helpless to stop the days,
the weeks and the months of her cruel abuse?
How could you live as a loving parent?
How could you sleep at night knowing your daughter was in constant harm?
This was your child…your baby girl and you were helpless to rescue her.
How could you go on day in and day out, knowing your beautiful, loving and selfless
daughter/granddaughter/sister was being tortured and repeatedly raped by a man of
pure evil because she was the American aid worker in the lot?
The other kidnapped workers all noted that it was Kayla who took the brunt of the
torture and rape because she was an American and they were not.
And so now you’re saying that I’m simply basing my words on emotion.
I’m playing on emotions…
And you’re right, I am.
Because it is emotional.
It is emotional because a young woman who went to help take care of displaced children
was, in turn, kidnapped, tortured, raped and killed…all because she was an American.
The man who personally took pleasure in her mutilation and sexual abuse was,
this past weekend, trapped in a tunnel…hemmed in by American troops and so in turn,
did what any coward would do, he blew himself up rather than being captured.
Only a coward tortures a young girl and uses her for his twisted sexual pleasures.
Only a coward blows himself up.
Hitler blew his brains out.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up.
The man who took sadistic pleasure from abusing a young American girl cowardly
blew himself up…just like a man who called for the deaths of countless men, woman, and children
because they were Jews, or Catholics or handicapped, hid in a bunker and blew his brains out.
Evil seems to always self implode when it is cornered.
So Americans should perhaps feel some sense of justification in the news that another
member of evil’s clan is gone.
And yet Congress is up in arms because they didn’t know about the covert military operation.
A ballpark booed a President, chanting “lock him up” …
The Speaker of the House announces that she will call for an impeachment vote this week.
However, in all of this upside-down madness, there are two grieving parents who have thanked
that very same president for finally bringing some sense of justice to the
cruel treatment of their daughter.
No one can bring back their daughter
No one can give back the sense of innocence their daughter once possessed and in turn
lost at the hands of evil.
But at least these two tormented parents now know that someone in the leadership
of their government, our government, remembered their daughter…
someone acknowledged their neverending nightmare and has worked to bring those
responsible to justice.
This is what I wrote back in 2015:
“Kayla had gone to Syria, working with the humanitarian organization Hayata Destek,
Support To Life, in order to help the refugee orphaned children in Syria whose lives
had been displaced and shattered by the ongoing fighting.
Kayla conducted art therapy projects with the kids,
as children can often express themselves in drawings when words cannot be found.
She noted that when the children asked her” where was her world”
–then telling them, they asked why had her people not come to help them…
her response was simply to cry along with and for the children.
This is what I wrote in 2016:
Tuesday night, after having spent much of the day glued to the news and having grieved
along with Kayla’s family, having noted that she was the same age as my son,
having wrestled with the position of the United States in such matters as hostages and war,
I found myself settling in for the evening reading over the Bonhoeffer book that
I have previously mentioned…of my meditating On The Word by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
translated by David McI. Gracie.
The evenings reading was based on Psalm 34:19
A Sermon on the Suffering of the Righteous
It was a meditation that Bonhoeffer had actually written down and mailed to his dear friend
Eberhard Bethge while Bonhoeffer was a prisoner in Tegel Prison near Berlin—the
first of three different prisons before his subsequent execution.
Bonhoeffer had already been held by the Nazi’s for over a year,
his future uncertain. He had just become engaged prior to his arrest,
and with it now being over a year away from those he loved, the confinement was
wearing on his soul.
Once again, as the created and not being the Creator,
there are those events in life that we simply will never truly understand no matter
how hard we try. We can write them off as this or that,
we can grow bitter and cold or simply empty and numb but there are those moments
when we will find ourselves at a loss for words, a loss of understanding.
It will be there, in the midst of the suffering and sorrow, that we will meet God. . .
I want to offer the following excerpt of the meditation as I find its
subject most timely and most enlightening…
(the translator has chosen to mix up the use of the feminine and masculine pronoun)
The righteous person must suffer many things;
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
1 Peter 3:9
Repay not evil with evil or railing with railing,
but rather bless, and know that you are called to this,
so that you should inherit the blessing.
The righteous person suffers in this world in a way that the unrighteous
person does not.
The righteous person suffers because of many things that for others
seem only natural and unavoidable.
The righteous person suffers because of unrighteousness,
because of the senselessness and absurdity of events in the world.
She suffers because of the destruction of the divine order of marriage and the family.
She suffers not only because it means privation for her,
but because she recognizes something ungodly in it.
The world says: that is how it is, always will be, and must be.
The righteous person says: It ought not to be so; it is against God.
This is how one recognizes the righteous person, by her suffering in just this way.
She brings, as it were, the sensorium of God into the world;
hence, she suffers as God suffers in this world.
“But the Lord delivers him.”
God’s deliverance is not to be found in every experience of human suffering.
But in the suffering of the righteous God’s hope is always there,
because he (the righteous person) is suffering with God.
God is always present with him. The righteous person knows that God allows him to suffer so,
in order that he may learn to love God for God’s own sake.
In suffering, the righteous person finds God. That is his deliverance.
Find God in your separation and you will find deliverance!
The answer of the righteous person to the sufferings that the world causes
her is to bless.
That was the answer of God to the world that nailed Christ to the cross: blessing.
God does repay like with like, and neither should the righteous person.
No condemning, no railing, but blessing.
The world would have no hope if this were not so.
The world lives and has its future by means of the blessing of God and of
the righteous person.
Blessing means laying one’s hands upon something and saying:
You belong to God in spite of all. It is in this way that we respond to the world
that causes us such suffering. We do not forsake it, cast it out,
despise or condemn it. Instead, we recall it to God, we give it hope,
we lay our hands upon it and say: God’s blessing come to you;
may God renew you; be blessed, you dear God-created world,
for you belong to your creator and redeemer.
We have received God’s blessing in our happiness and in our suffering.
And whoever has been blessed herself cannot help but pass this blessing on to the next one;
yes, wherever she is, she must be herself a blessing.
The renewal of the world, which seems so impossible,
becomes possible in the blessing of God.
As Jesus ascended to heaven, “he lifted up his hands and blessed” his followers.
We hear him speak to us in this hour: “The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Amen
Enough of this stupidy that is tearing our nation apart.
Enough of the ignorance and stupidity.
The problem is not President Trump.
Our trouble goes much deeper than that of a single man.
No single man can cause so much divisiveness.
329 million people, give or take a few, cannot be toppled by one single man.
So there is something else going on.
But you’re too proud, to selfish to see it any other way.
It’s time you get over yourself.
Your false accusations.
Your inflammatory reactionary foolishness.
It’s time we get back to being a unified United States…because if we don’t…
it will indeed be too late.
Stop to think about the grieving families who have lost loved ones to terrorism…
But you can’t because you’re too busy complaining and blaming a man who really
wasn’t on the scene when this craziness began.
May our prayers and support remain with families like the Muellers.
And all those who we have buried because of terrorism.
Terrorism that was ramping up long before President Trump was president.