So, What are we to DO with all of this stuff?
We hear wall to wall coverage of events in Connecticut, we hear of other similar crimes which were stopped before they could be carried out, and we think 'what next'!
How are we supposed to go on with life as usual, and have a 'Merry Christmas' in the midst of a fallen, evil world in which we can't really KNOW with certainty that it won't happen again, or even closer to home?
I would like to respectfulully suggest thawt there are 3 keys to victory over this evil.
Faith, Relationships, and Peace.
Faith in God, and His ability to be sovereign over the events of this world, and even to turn bad things into good, by using them for his eternal purpose.
As Romans 8:28 says, "..God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called to His eternal purpose."
That doesn't mean that this was not terrible, that it doesn't grieve the heart of God and that it shouldn't grieve us...it just means that God specializes in turning our 'junk' into His raw material for good. What satan means for evil God can use for eternal good. (For more on this point, please see yesterday's blog.)
Relationships. Often, the people who commit ,these acts are isolated 'loners', for a bunch of reasons.
One of the reasons they tend to lash out is that they feel anger or hurt because of this. One way we can begin to lessen the probability of this is to reach out in love, like Jesus did...even to the unlovable.
At the same time, the way to overcome our fears and grief is to focus on the relationships we have--family and friends, especially. Refocusing on those relationships, especially at Christmas, is crucial.
Finally, seek peace. Do what you can to heal relationships and forgive when there's hurt and pain. Paul wrote that we should "Be kind and compassionate with one another, tenderhearted; forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
Remember what Christmas was all about. Jesus came to earth to establish peace between God and mankind. The angels words call out
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
God's glory is achieved by bringing 'peace' on earth.
It STARTS with Peace with God. That is what Jesus came to accomplish, and that is really where this peace begins and ends--Peace on earth "to those on whom his favor rests".
Who does His favor 'rest' on? It's available to all, but only effective for those who have given their lives to Jesus, in faith, and who are letting Him have increasing reign over their lives.
The old Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells" says "there is no peace on earth, I said, for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men. But the bells keep ringing."
The last verse is a powerful reminder of hope:
"Then echoed there more loud and deep,
God is not dead, nor does He sleep;
the wrong shall fail, the right prevail
with peace on earth, good will to men."
This Christmas, don't let the darkness get you.
Don't let the evil make you forget.
God HAS come to earth in Jesus...
He DOES extend 'peace on earth, good will to men'...
IF we trust in Him.
IF we let Him into our lives.
IF we trust Him go give us victory over this fallen world...
THEN we can rest in His hand, and have real PEACE on Earth!