This past week was a tough week in America. The horrific shooting at Fort Hood was followed up by the tragic office shooting in Florida. Yesterday, another in Oregon…on the same day that John Allen Muhammed (aka, the D.C. Sniper) was put to death in Virginia. That's a lot of killing at the hands of just 4 people.
I don't know what's going on, but I know it's bad.
Those currently stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere know it better than I. Those stationed at Ft. Hood know it as well. There are some who are willing to harm anyone else for their own ends. There are some who choose the cowards way…not caring who they harm, whose lives they change forever. And, in most cases, they choose to end their own lives and avoid having to face the carnage of their actions.
All of this makes everyone feel a little less secure. It's a frightening thing to live in a time when it seems like anyone, any time, any place could go off and do something tragic.
However, I also know that God is still alive, and to use Paul's language from Acts 17, "not far from each of us." If you are a Christian, He is in us.
That's a lot.
As we look for healing from the events at Ft. Hood, Florida, and Oregon, we need to tell the truth about what happened. We can admit it was horrible, and that those who murdered their colleagues are guilty of sin. Speaking of the American media's initial reaction, David Brooks of the NY Times put it: "It denied, before the evidence was in, the possibility of evil. It
sought to reduce a heinous act to social maladjustment. It wasn’t the
reaction of a morally or politically serious nation." I agree with him.
Evil is alive and well. It continues to pollute and injure. It continues to war against our souls and reek havoc on Earth in new and surprisingly terrible ways. Nevertheless, the promises of the Gospel are:
1) That He who is in us is greater than He who is in the world.
2) That in this world we will have trouble, but Jesus says, "take heart, for I have overcome the world."
3) Some day, God will wipe away every tear. He will put an end to it.
4) God has placed the church in such a time to shine brightly in such darkness.
There are many more of God's promises I could mention, but perhaps our greatest consolation in these times isn't even God's promises, but rather, God himself. He remains not only the Comforter to those who worry, suffer, and mourn. He remains the answer to the problem of evil.