This is not the meditation I intended to write for you during this Holy season. It's not the meditation I want to write. But with evil spreading like a cancer throughout the world, I think I must write these strong words, at least this once. We must recognize our enemy.
Be vigilant, my brothers and sisters.
A horrible and unimaginable slaughter happened on Friday. Twenty innocent six and seven year old children were murdered in their classrooms. Six of their teachers and caregivers were slaughtered along with them. A mother died at the hands of her son. And the murderer took his own life. Hundreds of children and families were terrorized, scarred for life, and a community is devastated. We are in shock.
As our hearts break, so let any illusions shatter that we might have about the existence of evil. Evil is amongst us.
As Christians, we know that Satan is the god of this world and he claims authority over it. (See John 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4) We know that he comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Anyone or anything that causes such death and destruction has the devil's mark on it. Satan's signature. He is the guilty one. Evil exits in this world, but we are not without hope.
Jesus prayed to His Father for us who believe in Him. Read His words.
"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." John 17:14-15
He asked God to keep us from the evil. In the garden of Gethsemane, knowing what He would endure, He knew we would face the problem of evil.
Jesus taught us to pray, succint and powerful words. See Matthew 6:9-13 for our Lord's prayer.
. . . and deliver us from evil, He said.
Jesus did not pray that we would be taken out of this world. On the contrary. He said, "Go". (See Matthew 28: 16-20) He sent us out into the world with the Great Commission. He wants us to be His body here, doing the Father's will until He returns.
But He encouraged us and expects us to encourage one another.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be
where I am." John 14:1-3
Thank you Jesus for that promise.
The Apostle Paul, who would suffer great evil and died a martyr's death for the cause of Christ, wrote these words.
"We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4: 14-18
One day those of us who believe will be reunited with those who have gone before, and evil will be no more.
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor cryng, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4
Our hearts break for those suffering families in Newtown, Connecticut. But not only for those there. But there, and there, and there. . . everywhere in the world where Satan leaves his signature.
I ask you to pray for God's mercy for those who suffer and for the world. Care for one another and encourage each other, and pray often, Lord deliver us from evil. Jesus Christ alone can heal the broken hearts and restore lives. He alone is the answer to the problem of evil in this world.
Please forgive me for being lengthy, but this has been burning in my heart all weekend. God be with you and yours.
(All highlighted words are linked to an online bible if you want to read more of the referenced Scriptures.)