Once in a while, though, it rips our world apart, like we saw today in Connecticut. A 20 year old man apparently killed his mother then drove to the school she worked at and killed Staff, teachers, and at least 20 children--mostly her students!
I thought a lot today about 'that call'...what if I got 'that call' that said there was a shooting at the school Lori works at and Emily attends, and that staff and kids were killed. What if I found that CHS, right next to our church where a couple of my girls attend, was the scene of this kind of crime...what would I do?
How are we supposed to put this together in our heads?
How are we supposed to process this?
Certainly there are conversations all over the nation tonight about 'security', guns, mental illness, vulnerability.
But where does it all end? Is there some...'thing' we can learn and move on?
Is there some great "Aha!" moment that will 'click', so that it makes sense, we learn a lesson, them go on about everyday life?
No. Not if we mean that this 'lesson' will cause this evil and tragedy to make 'sense'.
But, if we can keep this evil (and many other forms) in their proper context, then maybe we can learn something and move on--not impervious or unaffected, but at least resilient and optimistic.
If we are going to do so, here's one thing we have to learn and settle in our minds:
Evil--unadulterated evil--exists in this world.
Evil...and "the Evil one" in particular, wants to wreck everything good in this world.
As Jesus said "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy..." (John 10:10). Jesus prayed, in fact, that His followers would be protected from "the evil one" (John 17:15), and Paul asked the Thessalonians to " Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one." (2 Thessalonians 3:2-3)
He shows himself and his influence in many ways...sometimes by inspiring evil in the life of a person, who then goes and does some evil act.(Note: I am not saying that person is a 'satanist', but that they are under the influence of the evil one--even if they are unaware of it.)
We all have that capability within ourselves, but (by the grace of God), some of us have been changed at the core of our being. For them, this 'evil' is no longer a driving force (although we can still give in to it, and sin).
As Paul wrote, "Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else...
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (Ephesians 2:1-10)
GOD is the One who changes us--from selfish, evil people into God-honoring, self-sacrificing people, through Jesus.
How do we live this out, in the midst of a crooked and messed up world?
Tune in next time for Part 2!
For now, remember: We CAN Praise Him in the storm!