Who Weeps for the Children?
It was a rather strange occurrence. The church was filled to capacity night after night to listen to Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter, one of the last great pulpit orators to have settled in the United States from the United Kingdom. His message was deep in biblical truth, expert in application, and laced with a humor that touched the lives of his listeners.
Dr. Baxter’s messages contained none of the juvenile elements of entertainment we see today. So what occurred seemed even odder. Surrounding the minister after the benediction were, of all people, children. They were neither urged nor expected to go to him—but there they were, responding to some inner affinity for a man they did not know. The admiration was returned when the elderly dignitary strode to the piano to perform an impromptu recital for the youngsters.
Clearly, some people possess an undefined quality that draws others to them.
Jesus and the Children
That quality, in its purest form, is explicit in our Savior. When His high-minded disciples rebuked people for allowing children to be brought to Him, Jesus had a word for His disciples: “He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God’” (Mk. 10:14).
Matthew 18:2 says Jesus “called a little child to Him, [and] set him in the midst of them.” When He called the child, the little boy apparently ran right to Him.
One could say Jesus’ magnetism and His ability to draw people to Himself first emerged when, as a Baby, He lay swaddled in a rustic stable in Bethlehem. From the moment He appeared as God among men, millions have come in endless procession to be near Him. They have been unstintingly willing, as He instructed, to become as children and walk with Him into the Kingdom.
Volumes have been written about our Savior’s relationship with children and His inherent appeal to them. There is no other personality in history about whom this can be said on such a scale. C. Herbert Woolston’s song “Jesus Loves the Little Children” is much more than a folksy ditty; it is a proclamation of God’s unfathomable love and a testimony to the divine sanctity of life.
Therefore, when Jesus warned of the dire consequences of offending children who believe in Him (v. 6), He was not making an idle threat.
A Contrary Spirit
While the millennia have eloquently testified that there is every reason to follow the Messiah, who alone can provide peace and abundant life, many people rebel. Within two years of the incarnation in Bethlehem, opposition arose.
Herod the Great, who ruled the area, was paranoid and approaching madness in fear of losing his position as king. Determined not to let the Child “born King of the Jews” (2:2) grow up to replace him, Herod sent executioners to the village to slaughter all males two years old and younger. Matthew’s Gospel relates the tragic event to a prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15, which foretold the slaughter of these innocent children:
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more” (Mt. 2:17–18).
Inexplicably, the unnatural impulse to abuse the innocent and destroy the very segment of society Jesus drew to Himself has not diminished with the passing of time.
A chilling example of this sad truth took place in July in Nigeria. A notorious, radical Islamist sect attacked a school and set it on fire. As the youngsters ran from the building to escape the flames, the terrorists shot them dead. A total of 42 teachers and pupils were killed.
In Nigeria alone, the same jihadist terrorist organization, the Boko Haram, has reportedly murdered some 3,000 Christians, including scores of children—all in the name of its god. The Boko Haram is waging a war against Christian believers who wish to live in peace and rear their children to reflect the image of Christ.
The War on Children
Children were especially vulnerable during the dark years of the Holocaust (1938–1945). Ironically, these years were etched into a period of great advancement in virtually all social, scientific, medical, academic, and industrial arenas beyond anything previously known. Yet among the 60 million casualties of Adolf Hitler’s war to create a thousand-year Reich were one and a half million defenseless children. Well over one million of them were Jewish.
The Holocaust Encyclopedia of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum describes the systematic extermination of these children:
The fate of Jewish and non-Jewish children can be categorized in the following ways: 1) children killed when they arrived in killing centers; 2) children killed immediately after birth or in institutions; 3) children born in ghettos and camps who survived because prisoners hid them; 4) children, usually over age 12, who were used as laborers and as subjects of medical experiments; and 5) those children killed during reprisal operations or so-called anti-partisan operations.
In the ghettos, Jewish children died from starvation and exposure as well as lack of adequate clothing and shelter. The German authorities were indifferent to this mass death because they considered most of the younger ghetto children to be unproductive and hence “useless eaters.” Because children were generally too young to be deployed at forced labor, German authorities generally selected them, along with the elderly, ill, and disabled, for the first deportations to killing centers, or as the first victims led to mass graves to be shot.1
Although most post-Holocaust Westerners shrink in disbelief that atrocities of such enormity could still exist, the brutality continues. Some actions are even enshrined in U.S. law and tolerated by the morally anesthetized. According to statistics from the Guttmacher Institute, formerly a special research affiliate of Planned Parenthood, 1,212,400 unborn children were aborted in America in 2008 alone.2 From 1973, when the United States legalized abortion, through 2008, there were 54,559,615 reported abortions.3
On another front, the United States gave $239 million in 2011 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is twisting the minds of Arab children to hate Israel and the West and molding them to die as martyrs fighting the Jews. A video of UNRWA’s efforts at summer camp is available online.4
Why the Silence?
Among the great unaddressed questions is why, with all of the evidence and statistics at hand, is there no perceptible outrage?
Granted, America is deeply divided on the abortion issue. But what about indoctrinating Arab children to hate?
What about the carnage of Christians and their children?
The attack on the Christians in Nigeria was not a one-time event. Savage violence against Christians is committed day in and day out in many countries. Yet no one seems to care.
U.S. officials and mainstream journalists are palpably silent. Because almost all of these atrocities are perpetrated by radical Islamic jihadists, many claim silence is preferable to exciting Muslim sensitivities. That may be the case. However, crimes against humanity are being committed here. Law-abiding Muslims are not the issue. They, of all people, should be speaking out against elements corrupting their way of life.
Christians in America and the West must also be called to account. Although there are notable exceptions, very little is being said about Christian persecution from speakers’ podiums and church pulpits.
Who Weeps for the Children?
Jesus stood outside His beloved city of Jerusalem and wept over the calamities He knew would befall it as a result of decisions being made there. Often, in light of the apparent degradation and disintegration of our culture and the rampant rise in godlessness, we express justifiable concern over our nation’s future. What will life be like for our children and grandchildren?
Powerful forces are making every effort to remove God’s hand from this land of ours. We must now ask ourselves if we have entered an “Ichabod” era where “the glory has departed.” In other words, has God already taken His hand off us? If so, we have legitimate cause to weep for our children, as Rachel of old.
However, there is more to the story. The first chapter was written in a stable in Bethlehem when God entered time in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. For more than 2,000 years, Jesus has fulfilled the promise of bringing life, peace, love, and joy to all who believe in Him.
Whatever changes there may be in the political, social, and moral landscape, Jesus still makes good on His promises. And someday, the second chapter will be written when Jesus will fulfill another promise: “I will come again” (Jn. 14:3). To that we say a hearty “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).
- “Children During the Holocaust,” Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum <ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005142>.
- Lauren Enriquez, “Abortion Statistics: 1.2 Million Babies Die Every Year From Abortions,” <lifenews. com/2013/07/01/abortion-statistics-1-2-million-babies-die-every-year-from-abortions>.
- “Abortion Statistics: United States Data and Trends,” National Right to Life <nrlc.org/Factsheets/FS03_AbortionInTheUS.pdf>.
- “Exclusive—Video: Palestinian Children Indoctrinated Against Israel, Jews at UNRWA Summer Camp,” August 9, 2013 <breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/08/09/Exclusive-Video-Palestinian-Children-