I hear the siren. Itâ€™s noon on May 1, the first Wednesday of the month. What a coincidence, as I sit at my computer reading the Washington Post article â€œThe Prophets of Oak Ridge.â€ It mentions that siren and reveals the circumstances of the Y-12 security system breach last year. The article links Oak Ridgeâ€™s first known prophet, John Hendrix to the nun, painter, and drifter who made national news.
I think to myself, â€œGod WAS responsible for the creation of the atomic bombâ€¦.and there ARE real prophets in Oak Ridge â€“ still today!â€
â€œWhat?â€ your mind must be responding, as you wonder how I could think such a thing. Well, if youâ€™ll stick with me, youâ€™ll see the path to my conclusion.
As I quote on our Hendrix Prayer Walk website, Amos 3:7 says that God does nothing without first telling his prophets that He is going to do it. The emphasis I am making is on the word God. He does nothing without the fore-witness of a prophet.
God has a prophetic eye. That special prophetic eye sees the future. That doesnâ€™t mean He always plans what happens, only that He can foresee the potential evil or good that lies ahead for every single one of us based on each of our choices. I like to think of it like an Xbox, computer, or iPod game, or Sudoku, my personal favorite. Each move lends itself to eventual success or failure. Likewise, each of our choices, or moves in life, if you will, lends themselves toward success or failure for us. Fortunately, God is more forgiving than a game will be when we invite Him to participate in our lives.
In the year 1900, Adolf Hitler was 11 years old. That same year God told John Hendrix that there was going to be a city built on his farmland that would help win a coming war. God could see that the propensity to do horrible evil was already in Hitlerâ€™s heart, and that circumstances were developing that would lend itself to his opportunity.
Now back to our scripture. According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, â€œJust as one event does not take place unless another necessary event has already happened, so the sovereign Lord does nothing regarding the history of Israel without first revealing His plan to His servants the prophetsâ€¦.Major changes in Israelâ€™s history were preceded by revelations from God; He seldom acted without first giving warning through a prophet.â€
As I see it, hereâ€™s the formula: God foresaw that Hitler was going to brutalize millions of innocent people, many of them being Jewish people. He moved upon John Hendrix to bring the pre-required prophecy that a city would be built on his farmland that would help win a war. Then God did what He intended in response to world developmentsâ€”Oak Ridge was built, the atomic bomb invented, and the war was ended. (Read Augustineâ€™s “Theology of Just War” for more consideration.)
Three years after WWII ended, the Jewish people were given land again after more than 1,800 years of exile into â€œthe four corners of the earth.â€(Isaiah 11:12) The story sounds a lot like the Bible stories of the Old Testament.
As I continued reading through the article I also came to believe that God allowed the breach at Y-12 in 2012, just as the trio claimed. However I wonder if God had a different reason than the one they thought.
I donâ€™t believe that God wanted to have a statement made against the existence of nuclear weapons. Something else that Sister Megan said jumped out at me as I read:
â€œItâ€™s idolatry, putting trust in weapons.
And weapons are made like gods.â€¦â€
Nuclear weapons, and guns for that matter, are not inherently evil. They are a lifeless manmade creation. The false gods of the Bible were also suchâ€”lifeless manmade creations, which the Bible describes as mute and paralyzed. They can do nothing on their own. They are subject to the hand that controls them. The children at the school in Connecticut were not killed by a gun, but by the hand of a young man in control of the gun. Surely we all agree on this.
Removing weapons would never stop violence. If so, what did Cain use to kill Abel in Genesis 3? The problem is inside the human heart. Contrary to the misuse of one verse of scripture, God never told the Israelites in the Bible to put away all their weapons. It is not one of the Ten Commandments, nor discussed in the book of Leviticus. If any weapon becomes the object of a personâ€™s trust and confidence, that weapon becomes an item of idol worship in Godâ€™s eyes. That goes for nuclear weapons and guns alike. Sin originates in the heart. Sin comes when the human heart develops trust, dependencies, love and passion for any created object, or person, or career, or money, or the pursuit of knowledge or entertainment or a hobby, and the list goes on. Anything elevated above the resolute passion for the Savior of the World and His promises is modern-day idol worship. A true relationship with Him will satisfy the heartâ€™s longings.
So I want to ask those who feel that nuclear weapons are evil or that guns are evil: What would have happened if the atomic bomb had never been built? What if it had been built by the hands of anyone less than a peace-loving country like the United States? Tell me, when and how WWII would have ended?
In January 2012, Martin McBride was quoted in The Oak Ridger as saying:
â€œSince WWII, the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with their 300,000 deaths remains in the world consciousness. On the other hand, the memory of WWIIâ€™s staggering non-nuclear death tollâ€”over a hundred times larger at 50-70 million deathsâ€”has largely faded. Itâ€™s the legacy of the Manhattan Project that year after year pushes mankind back from the brink of WWIII. In my opinion, world peace is by far Oak Ridgeâ€™s greatest ongoing contribution.â€
I concur. An average of 10 million people per year were being killed in the war. While we are sorry for the loss of life in Japan it was needed in order to stop a much larger injustice. Both the Japanese and the Germans who live today have a deep gratitude to the United States for their military intervention. Oak Ridge is responsible for the level of world peace we all enjoy.
Which brings me to this: Could it be that in 2012, the foreknowledge from His Own prophetic eye, coupled with the prayers of people who pray for the safety of Oak Ridge, have motivated God to again use unlikely â€œprophetsâ€ to intervene in the faulty affairs of man for the purpose of detouring a successful terrorist attack from occurring in Oak Ridgeâ€™s future? Was this not a greatly needed wake-up call for Oak Ridge?
As I finally got to the end of the article, I felt deep passion stirring within me and tears began to swell up in my eyes. Just like the nun, painter, and drifter, I too, want to make a difference in this world. I am not satisfied to live my life, day after day, tending to trivial meaningless tasks. I have passion about something. It is this truth: that God in Christ gave everyone a uniquely designed destiny to live out. Every one of us can make a difference that is meaningful. Iâ€™m not going to break the law, but I am pursuing my destiny day by day just like Sister Megan. I believe what Moses said, and what the Apostle Paul said, that all Godâ€™s people have the opportunity to serve as prophetsâ€”if they will.
The Washington Post article ends as the three intruders stand inside Y-12 waiting to be arrested, reading a pre-written declaration to the one, solitary guard, whose faith leads him to believe differently than the three. The author writes:
â€œBut for those next five minutes the scene was simple, almost sacramental. Four servants of God, drawn together by conviction and coincidence, regarded each other as dawn approached. The Lord may have been there tooâ€¦.â€
I feel certain the Lord was there, and He was there during WWII, and He was there with John Hendrix. The three will be on trial this week in Knoxville, and I hope He is with them again regardless of the outcome, because God is present with each one of us if we invite Him in.
Do you have a different answer to my questions?
Myra Mansfield and her husband have developed the John Hendrix Memorial Prayer Walk. This half-mile nature trail, which meanders beside Hendrix Creek, has eight trail markers that tell the story of â€œThe Prophet of Oak Ridgeâ€ along with other local history. The trailhead is located on Hendrix Drive across from Hampshire Court. For more information visit www.hendrixprayerwalk.com.