Information lands differently in my mind than it used to. I suppose that happens with age, when each of us enter into certain seasons of life. It was first noticed by me when my first grandchild was born. “I’ve become legacy minded” I would tell people. I still say that. The climate of current events seems to have drawn me in closer, especially when I digest cultural issues and their effect on my life and in short order, the lives of my now two grandchildren.
This past week I was invited to join a conference call with the White house where those leaders on the call would hear from top administration officials including Vice President Mike Pence regarding the government shut down and the border wall issue. As I dialed in I was a bit unsure how that the information I would hear would directly apply to me; however, it wasn’t long before I understood completely as my legacy minded grandad-heart was stirred.
With poise and clear voice based on the very best expert American intelligence and policy advisors in the world, Vice President Pence shared details of the humanitarian and security crisis that not only envelopes our southern border but directly affects those we know and love. For example, 90% of the heroin that enters our nation along with the deadliest of drugs fentynol come through the southern border. No one reading this can say they are not touched by this blight on our blessed land today. 300 lives are taken weekly, and were those lives lost in plane crashes or explosions, America would stop in its tracks to fix the problem. Even the Washington Post calls this a “Bona Fide Emergency!”
As a pastor, I have many times looked into the face of a family member and wept with those precious families who lost a loved one at the hands of addiction. I have preached the funerals of young lives who each had great day’s ahead of them yet tragically and unnecessarily died of an overdose. This is about real people that we personally know! The human trafficking cost is no different as the Vice President went on to share.
Because of America’s roaring economy, the trafficking trade has increased. In December of 2018 alone, 20,000 children were trafficked across the southern border of the United States. Many of them recycled. What’s that, you say? I didn’t know either until the Vice President explained. A poor innocent trafficked child is placed with a would-be family to get them across the border as a unit so that if caught they could pose as a family. That same sweet child is then smuggled back across the border into Mexico and placed with another fake family and the cycle continues. Here’s where my stomach began to turn and my thoughts went to my sweet babies. I’m sure many of your minds went there as well.
Tony Perkins, the President of the organization I serve, The Family Research Council, said, “Walls protect those inside our national home and ensure that we can peacefully live our lives together. When someone has no home and lives outside that protection, we work to help… I consider the desire of so many people to live here a great compliment to America. But what made America great? It is the rule of law that makes economic and cultural stability possible and that continues to make America attractive to the huddled masses yearning to be free.”
Tony continues, “It’s not compassionate to turn a blind eye to the danger posed by some who enter with the intent to harm us. It’s not compassionate to have a hidden society where people can’t engage in the American dream in the light of day. It’s not compassionate to use children as a human shield to infiltrate the country or to separate actual families in need, something that needs to be determined with a legal process that protects all.”
I have often said in sermons and speeches, there is a generation that will follow us who will have the perspective and the facts so as to accurately judge our actions. When it comes to the crisis on our southern border… “and please know there is a crisis, a clear humanitarian and security crisis” our response will affect this nation for years to come.
Tough issues require strong leadership. Strong leadership always faces opposition. In this case and every cultural issue that stand before us as a nation may we find the resolve and God given wisdom and courage that is needed to respond appropriately, stand firmly and lead bravely this great nation that Abraham Lincoln called… “the last best hope of earth.”
Steve Green’s words still inspire, “May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe, And the lives we live inspire them to obey, Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.” I think of those I love; So should you… We Must!
Tim Throckmorton is the former executive pastor for Plymouth Heights Church of the Nazarene in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, and Portsmouth First Church of the Nazarene. He is currently senior pastor at Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio.