11/9/11: The Lion Has Fallen: Four Things I Believe God Is Saying to Lion Country

Chris Heinz —  November 9, 2011 — 35 Comments

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It has been a horrible season for our town.

A cloud covers us because the mighty lion has fallen. By lion, I mean Penn State. A hometown hero has been charged with deplorable crimes against children. High ranking university officials have been charged with perjury. And there’s more to come.

If the charges are true, more victims will step forward. We will learn about more devastation, more loss of innocence, more broken trust, more eroded character.

Yes, the lion has fallen, and we are in free fall.

That’s why we need God more than ever: God for the victims, God for the accused, God for the justice system, God for Penn State, God for us.

We need God’s steadfast words to guide us, his unfailing words to right us. We need God’s presence to comfort us, his touch to heal us. We need to pray.

There are a lot of words flying. Words by media. Words by lawyers. Words by the public. We can easily consume these words and become consumed by them. But in this season of free fall, let’s not forget who can heal us. God wants to, although it will take time.

There’s no quick fix to this. It’s going to get uglier before it gets better. Mark my words.

But while we are in free fall, I believe God is saying some things to us. And if we heed them, we might find our way up. This isn’t all God’s saying, but it’s some of what I believe He’s saying.

“My eyes are on the brokenhearted.”
There are many brokenhearted right now, especially the alleged victims and their families. Things allegedly went on that no child should ever experience. They are said to have occurred in shower rooms and basements, vehicles and hotel rooms. Regardless of where, God knows about each incident and cares about what went on. He cares about each victim’s heart. He wants to restore what was taken and after that, give them a life they only dreamed of. God’s eyes are on the brokenhearted. And they’re on us.

“Worship Me alone.”
This week’s events have revealed the objects of our worship, our hidden, “acceptable” idolatry. Part of our community’s pain is the tearing down of our idols. Now we’re reeling because we realize we’ve been duped. We’ve put our trust in humans, and humans have let us down. For years we have raised our voices and hands in praise. We have spent riches on our team. We have clocked scores of time for the lion. We have traveled miles to pilgrimage at the temple. And we have believed Joe was infallible. But the curtain has been opened, and the wizard is a fake. (Joe’s not the wizard, the whole idol is.) Now what? I believe God is calling us to worship him alone.

“Turn your sex lives over to Me.”
A month before the news broke, The Daily Collegian, which is Penn State’s student-run newspaper, introduced a sex column. The columnist encouraged students to dive into sex and “really delve into what’s important.” Her reason? She’s 20 and, “We’re at the point in our lives when we are coming into our sexuality.” But such haphazard sex seems soiled now that we’ve heard about the shower room. And 20 years doesn’t seem so old because it’s not much older than the victims (allegedly). Consensual sex between adults isn’t equivalent to what is being charged. However, attitudes toward permissive and promiscuous sex certainly don’t help, and they contribute to the acceptance of lower moral standards. So let’s turn our sex lives over to God. Let’s protect ours for the sake of those who couldn’t protect theirs.

“Look at the plank in your own eye.”
With unspeakable charges like this, we’re quick to seek justice. It’s for good reason. A society is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members. We don’t stand for crimes against children. We will prosecute. But in the hunt, we must examine ourselves. When sin is exposed in a community, it’s not just about the offender. It’s about each of us. We must search our hearts, search our motives, search ourselves. In the end, no one escapes judgment.

Perhaps if we heed God’s words, a New Lion will arise in Lion Country. I look forward to that bright day.

Chris Heinz

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My books, "Made To Pray" and "One-Minute Devotions On Prayer", are helpful guides to developing a satisfying and fruitful prayer life. My experience as a Prayer Warrior, Missionary, and Speaker for over 15 years has prepared me to help Christians turn their ineffective prayer lives into exciting experiences that increase their hunger for God's presence and achieve incredible results through the most powerful tool available, prayer. I've appeared in Charisma Magazine, Extant Magazine, the Christian Post, and the Centre Daily Times, and serve on the National Committee of Mission America Coalition.

35 responses to 11/9/11: The Lion Has Fallen: Four Things I Believe God Is Saying to Lion Country

  1. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say “But such haphazard sex seems soiled now that we’ve heard about the shower room. And 20 years doesn’t seem so old because it’s not much older than the victims (allegedly).”

    There’s such a huge difference between random arbitrary sex between two adults and what Sandusky is accused with.  Suggesting that both things are similar goes too far.  A very close family member of mine was sexually abused for years and there’s absolutely no comparison between what happened to her and the haphazard sex of college students.

  2. Chris, I am more than ever convinced that the deplorable behavior we see in others is only by God’s grace not fully revealed in us. We need to recognize that when we feel disgust at actions taken by others this pales in comparison to our sin in God’s eyes. But by His grace, in His love and for His glory He has redeemed us through the blood of His son Jesus.

    Thanks for your thoughtful messages. May God’s Word bring conviction, repentence, hope and healing.

  3. Chris, this is right on.  I join you in praying for a New Lion!
    Kendel

  4. Best words yet spoken about this tragedy! Thanks for sharing Poppa’s heart for State College & Penn State!

  5. Profound. Your blog entry made me cry like a baby, but it was exactly what I have been thinking without articulating. This whole mess is just frightening and depressing and a person can fall into a dark place. I am happy I found your website.

  6. Really beautiful. The only thing I could think when this story broke was the many warning signs there are and must have been. Our church has been hit hard by these scandals and since I work with youth we’ve had to take ‘conduct’ classes that have strict guidelines for being alone and traveling with youth.
      You really brought this back into focus for me… Our worship of people, how we ignore our own faults, how we sully the gift of sexuality in our own ‘safe’ lives, how God cares about each person’s hurt.

      Thank you for the very insightful article!

  7. Where was God when these children were being abused?

  8. That’s a very important question and one I have thought about. God was there. But the thing is, he gives us human beings free will. So adults are free to abuse children, sad as that is. However, perhaps God sent a deliverer at different times. For instance, perhaps Mike McQueery was supposed to be a deliverer for the boy in the shower, to put an end to it. At the time, he didn’t. But in time, the truth is coming out. That is a form of escape. And I read somewhere that a janitor witnessed something. Perhaps God was trying to use him as a deliverer, too.

  9. Wait, what’s the link between child rape and adult college students having consensual sex?

    now more than ever, the good people of state college need to “rise above” and not try to “capitalize” on this unthinkable crime spree.

    It’s true that there’s a monster in Happy Valley, but that monster is a rapist, not a columnist.

    Linking a student sex column to a pedophilia cover-up? This is not a smart bridge to build, my friend.

    Judge not.

  10. Hi Youth Pastor, thanks for reading and commenting. I agree that pedophilia is not the same as consensual sex. Of course it isn’t. But I do feel that these crimes should get us to think twice about our own sex lives, and consider what we are giving away when we have a choice that the victims didn’t.

  11. Excellent insight, Chris.  Since news broke last weekend, my prayer has been for God to show Himself mighty and powerful in the lives of all those affected.

  12. Wow Chris, I just wrote a blog on the plank in my own eye and how we need to speak out on all abuse and cease being silent. Thanks for your article.

  13. Lot of sports “icons” have taken a fall lately, haven’t they?

    Perhaps God is dealing with forms of idol worship that seemed to get a “pass” before.

    He is certainly separating the “sheep” from the “goats.”

    My suspicion is that process will continue at an ever-accelerating pace going forward.

    Blessings,

    Doug

  14. I have always had a great respect for Joe Paterno and his accomplishments. I am saddened that this scandal will be his legacy, and not his character or the good he has done for others.
    I will not judge him or anyone else involved in this incident; that is the sole province of God. I will pray for all involved, especially the victims and their families. God’s will be done!

  15. Your advice is to be commended among all the noise. We need to pray. We need God’s words to guide us.

    God speaks to us through his word; will we listen? Whether our wrong doing is exposed publicly or not—wrong doing, sin, always has consequences.

    We at Way Truth Life Radio (89.9 & 107.1) invite you to have you share your thought with our listeners.

  16. michelle scacchi November 9, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Grace & Mercy over us all. Thank you for the article.
    My heart can feel the pain & the anger & the hurt & the hostility & the disgust & the pain, & the anger & the hurt & the disgust & the hostility & it goes on & on & on… this kind of violation of a human being is so damaging. Only the One True Lord of Lords and King of King can bring restoration to this act of sin. It’s so ugly,it feeds the shame that wants to keep a victim. But the process of healing has to happen…May we be sensitive to where some one may be in the process. I know first hand, that some how God’s help takes us through to the better place. It’s a very rough process. May hearts be enlightened to the HOPE OF JESUS CHRIST and people get healed to restoration, able to make a difference so this kind of act will be exposed and stop. This is not the only place this kind of thing is happening. God Help us & change us.

  17. A Weary Traveler November 9, 2011 at 3:29 am

    The lost words of our Lord and Savior I think we all must turn to is that it is not our place to judge others.

    Certainly, we detest the sin, but we must love the sinner. It is our duty to find it in our heart to forgive Mr. Sandusky as well as those enabled him to commit his crimes through their inaction.

    We pray for Him to help us find the love in our hearts to do as He commands us.

  18. There are more worst cases going on than what you told about. Even in the biggest world religion scandal have heard. So sad. Our community is in need of protection against the forces of lustful activities. Against the spirit that in control of the corrupt professors and officials. Are we doing our part to cover our community with prayers. Is there one who will stand on the gap? Let’s ask God for the healing of fallen Lion, this will takes time but enough time to return to the Lord. Lion country must acknowledge God today.

  19. We bow our hearts
    We bend our knees
    Oh Spirit come make us humble
    We turn our eyes
    From evil things
    Oh Lord we cast down our idols

    So give us clean hands
    And give us pure hearts
    Let us not lift our souls to another
    Oh give us clean hands
    And give us pure hearts
    Let us not lift our souls to another
    Oh God let this be
    A generation that seeks
    Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob
    Oh God let us be
    A generation that seeks
    Who seeks Your face, Oh God of Jacob

    (from Chris Tomlim song)

  20. Joe Paterno is a great man, and how dare you talk about him like you are perfect and have lived life free is sin. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

  21. Jamie (Mccartin) Clayton November 9, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Chris,

    Thank you so much for this.  Putting a faith based perspective on this tragedy gave me a little peace.  I have struggled in life and like everyone bore judgment from others.  I pray for the families but also for those who rush to judgment and seek to place blame.  The blame lies in all of us each of bare a cross of judgment.  I pray this article breathes reality and reflection into all it’s readers.  I hope your family is well.  Thank you again!

  22. My heart can feel the pain & the anger & the hurt & the hostility & the disgust & the pain, & the anger & the hurt & the disgust & the hostility & it goes on & on & on… this kind of violation of a human being is so damaging. Only the One True Lord of Lords and King of King can bring restoration to this act of sin. It’s so ugly,it feeds the shame that wants to keep a victim. But the process of healing has to happen…May we be sensitive to where some one may be in the process. I know first hand, that some how God’s help takes us through to the better place. It’s a very rough process. May hearts be enlightened to the HOPE OF JESUS CHRIST and people get healed to restoration, able to make a difference so this kind of act will be exposed and stop. This is not the only place this kind of thing is happening. God Help us & change us.

  23. Hi Kathy, thanks for reading and commenting. I agree that Joe Paterno is a great man. I didn’t say he wasn’t. All I said was that he is not infallible, just like all of us, just like me. I am also suggesting we all look at the sin within ourselves, look at our hearts, look at our motives. That includes me, which I am doing. Bless you.

  24. Kathy, I don’t see Chris talking like he is perfect, but only pointing out that we are all imperfect. The danger comes when we elevate a human to deity status, put our blind faith in him, and lose sight of the one, true God.

  25. Thank you, Chris, for the four prayer points.  This morning I was drawn to drive around downtown State College and PSU campus to pray.  I sensed God’s deep sadness and compassion for the young men who had been violated but also for the other people involved.  I found myself singing “You’re the God of this City” by Chris Tomlin and I proclaimed it over our town and the university.  Jehovah God is indeed the God of PSU and State College; the idols have fallen. “Greater things are yet to come.”

  26. Whoever wrote this article, I don’t know who you are personally, but I do know that you are speaking the truth straight from the Holy Ghost.

    Anyone who says that haphazard sex is NOT dangerous is lying. To commit adultery is a sin. Christ, The Judge of the Universe, gave the commandments we live by and if you are giving yourself to someone you are not married to you will regret it over time because every time you give yourself away you are giving away a part of your soul. Your body and soul will feel the repercussions. You must go back to Christ and ask forgiveness with your whole heart in order to be healed. You don’t HAVE to believe me, folks. You can do whatever you like and learn the hard way as I did. But the ones who take advantage of the weak are or promoting haphazard sex are even more guilty. If you are taking away from someone by lying to them and convincing them that they have to to sexually perverse things, or promoting such, or (even worse in my humble opinion) lying to them and telling them that you love them when you really just want sex then you will feel the repercussions of it as well. The ones who coherse or force people sexually- those people, I believe, disgust Christ. Boy, do I feel sorry for you.

    I pray for those vile people, though. Because, surely, they do not understand judgment. Surely they don’t have a clue what they’re actually doing- raping the minds and souls of the innocent. They are sick. Mentally and emotionally. Hopefully, knowing that Christ knows that, Christ will not be too hard on them.

    I pray for them. I don’t judge them.

    If you understand judgment, as apparently, Chris, the author of this post does, you know that none of us are capable of judging ANYONE. Only Christ has that position. Let Him do it. He does it very well.

    And this is for Clarence…please do not confuse the actions of humans to those of God. They are two very different things. If you don’t know that, you do not know my God.

    -Angie

  27. This is for Clarence…please do not confuse the actions of humans to those of God. They are two very different things. If you don’t know that, you do not know my God.

    -Angie

  28. Catholic priests molest young boys and the Church bureaucracy covers it up. Then Penn State coaches molest young boys and the school bureaucracy covers it up. It is tough to be an orphan in Pennsylvania.

  29. At times like these, people need to turn to their religion and their church.  Problem is, the Catholic church can’t say anything, because across the state in Philadelphia, they willfully hid 37 known pedophile priests until this year.

    Penn State had ONE accused pedophile.  The Catholic church had 4,392 accused pedophiles according to their own John Jay Study in 2004.

    Penn State fired 5 people in 5 days when they had one accused pedophile. 

    Catholic bishops moved known pedophiles, lied about it, and they fight the victims that come forward.  Catholic bishops don’t get fired.  Bishop Vangheluwe admitted to having sex with his 5 year old nephew, and for 13 years.  He also had sex with the other nephew.  After more than a year, the pope still hasn’t made a final determination on him.

    God gave us Penn State so the we would realize how necessary it is to remove the bishops from the Catholic church, and put in leadership that can speak up in a case where someone raped one of God’s children.

  30. It amazes me the great lengths to which people like you are willing to go in defense of and compassion for the Penn State idol. Where is the prayer and acceptance and “look at the plank in your own eye” language when self-righteous Christians judge others like, say, gays and lesbians, many of whom are in the church? Where is the outrage over self-righteous Christians judging all the other evils in society while ignoring their own hypocritical grandstanding? As a Christian myself, I am ashamed at this blatant double standard in how this is all approached. You are willing to extend an excessive, and almost perverted, amount of grace to those who committed heinous acts in this case, simply because it has tainted a worshipped school’s image that you would like to restore. One of you wrote that “Joe Paterno was a great man”….seriously? What is wrong with you people? You are idol worshippers yourself who pick and choose what social ills you want to demonized based on who is doing them and what their reputation is. You are quick to judge most everyone else, but you are going to reserve judgment in this case because you adore your idol? You people sicken me.

  31. Hi Joe, thanks for reading and commenting. I’m not sure you got the point of my article with regard to the idolatry that the football program has become. Where am I in defense and with compassion of the Penn State idol? Quite the contrary. I’m calling for us to worship God alone.

  32. I agree that we all need to focus on God as our lone Source of worship, knowing that His eyes are always on us, desiring to transform us into His image and likeness. This is an excellent article with terrific points all around. Thank you for this, Chris.

  33. To “A Weary Traveler,”  It is our duty to hold Jerry Sandusky accountable for his actions.  The truth is that we do not know how many more victims will come forward, and I am assuming he did commit these horrible crimes with the preponderance of evidence at this point.  Assuming that, it is our duty to see justice done, through the justice system.  If Jerry wants forgiveness, it requires confession and repentance, which has clearly not been the case up until this point.  I believe God is willing to forgive everyone who asks, but that means acknowledging sin, repenting of it, and making rstitution, and it does not erase the consequences of the sin committed.  Yes, God will judge, but this man needs to be judged here on earth as well, through the justice system, and there is no way anyone who commits crimes like this just gets a pass if they confess.  Focusing our anger and disgust on Jerry, and others who enabled him, does have a place, though letting go and giving it to God after a time does, too.  It is our responsibility to look at everyone involved, from top to bottm, and our whole community including ourselves, to identify how this could have happened, and been allowed to continue for so long, and how things can be changed and reformed to prevent this abuse of children from happenning again, as well as any other injustices given a pass or not followed up on which enables them to continue.  There is a place for judgement, justice, and accountability here on earth.

  34. I would like to participate in this forty Prayer as you send me the scripture to Pray for not only Penn State but, for all abuse victims.

  35. I pray for the 40 days of this world to change and see the TRUE GOD, JESUS THE MESSIAH!

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