March 26, 2005
What Is God's Purpose?
The week before Easter has been a
disturbing one, a time of death not a season of hope.
A court ordered that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube and
hydration be withdrawn on March
18. As her life ebbed away, Congress cut short its Easter vacation,
and returned to Washington last weekend to enact a law allowing federal
courts to review her case.
However, as a federal judge studied it, he did not
order the tubes be reinserted, which was
the purpose of the law. s Mrs. Schiavo's parents put it in a legal
brief, "Death is absolutely
irreparable." Federal District Court Judge James Whittemore agreed
that "irreparable injury"
was at stake, but said "Plaintiffs have not established a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits." Later a Federal Appeals Court
and a Florida court came to the same conclusion.
Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband who sought to have the
feeding tube removed, argued
she was in "a persistent vegetative state." However, a nurse who once cared
for her, said "When I worked with her, she was alert and oriented. Terri
spoke on a regular basis while in my presence, saying such things as `mommy'
and `help me.' `Help me" was in fact one of her
most frequent utterances. I heard her say it hundreds of times." The nurse
re-told her story
on Fox News.
As the nation was debating the merits of extending her
life, it was shocked to learn that a
16-year-old student, Jeff Weise, killed his grandfather and his 32-year-old
female companion, a
school guard, a teacher, five students, and then himself in Red Lake,
Minnesota. It was the worst school shooting incident since Columbine High
The inevitable question: how could anyone value life so
A partial answer is that no one valued the life of Jeff
His father committed suicide a few years ago. His
mother drank heavily and beat him.
She's in a nursing home with head injuries suffered in a car accident. The boy was sent to live
with his grandfather who was focused on his lover. But his record of
including a threat to shoot up the school last April 20, Hitler's birthday,
prompted the school to
remove him and place him in a home tutoring program in a facility separate
from his grandfather.
The only group which accepted the tormented boy was an
Ayran supremacist group,
which he communicated with via computer. He called himself "Todesangel,"
German for "angel
of death." He wrote that "I've always carried a natural admiration for
Hitler and his ideals, and
his courage to take on larger nations."
One member of the group replied, "We welcome you,
No one else gave him that welcome. Not his father, nor
mother, nor grandfather, nor the
Last week, Ashley Smith, a 26-year-old widow, who lost
her husband to murder, found
herself a hostage of Brian Nichols. He had just killed four people.
She had reason to be utterly terrified. But she appealed to his better
nature by picking up Rick Warren's
powerful book, "The Purpose Driven Life," and read from Chapter 33, where
she had just been reading:
"Remember God shaped you for (ital) service (cl ital)
not for self-centeredness."
He replied, "Look in my eyes. I am already dead."
"You are not dead. You are standing in front of me,"
and she added, "You are in my
apartment for some reason." She said he had a purpose in life. She
urged him to turn himself in, and use his remaining years in prison to
acquaint others with God.
He lay his guns down on the bed, which she could have
grabbed, but she did not. Nor did
she escape when she could have. She waited hours until she was certain
that she had given that killer hope for his future.
Rev. Rick Warren, the author of "The Purpose Driven
Life," was asked on CNN this week, if he could explain how the school
killings were part of God's plan.
He could not. But he said there was one theme that tied
together Jeff Weise, Brian
Nichols and Easter - the importance of hope. The two killers both
lost hope in their future, but
the Resurrection's message is that there is hope indeed.
"The Purpose Driven Life" begins quoting Bertrand
Russell, an atheist: "Unless you
assume a God, the question of life's purpose is meaningless."
Exactly. Or as Warren puts it:
"Without God life makes no sense."
Jeff Weise' idol was Hitler not God. Brian Nichols
discovered God, but too late.
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