Evil is real. We need to understand that the devil is as real as Jesus although, thankfully, he is not as powerful as our Lord. Many are asking questions today about the Connecticut shooting. People want to why such a thing could happen in a peaceful town. Some are questioning God and asking why a loving God would allow such a thing to happen. Others only want to know how to get through the day in the face of such horror. There are answers to their questions but now may not be the best time to enter into deep theological discussions.
Many in Newtown, instinctively turned to God when they heard of the attack. In their hearts they knew that God alone could bring them through the pain. They knew Jesus would care. Let’s remember these three thoughts.
Jesus hurts with his people
The Bible says, “we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched by the feelings of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). I recall a touching moment in Jesus’ life when he saw the grief of those in the home of his dear friend Lazarus. The Bible simply says “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Jesus’ grief over Lazarus himself, for he was about to raise him from the dead, instead Jesus grieved for the people who were so pained at the loss of their brother and friend.
Then there was a widow walking in her only son’s funeral procession. You can feel the pain of this frightened woman. Of this woman, the Bible says, “he had compassion on her” (Luke 7:13). There is no doubt that this morning our Lord is grieving along with those who lost their loved ones.
Evil is always among us
Evil is constantly near us but it is not always so obvious. The events of the past few days paint the obvious horrible, demonic picture of Satan at his worst. Thankfully, these shootings are not every day events. But the Bible speaks of evil as always being near. Peter warns, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Sometimes, evil is so insidious that we may miss it altogether. Paul warns of Satan, “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Our adversary is deceitful and dangerous. It is good that we are horrified at the scenes of such shootings, but never forget, the same devil is always near. Remember, there is always a moment of peace for the antelope just before the tiger pounces.
Those most affected by this shooting and by others like it, find themselves caught in the swiftly moving currents of life. They are forced to move on but are heavily burdened by grief. There is no way to forget or ignore the pain in this life. But our God will help. In our darkest day, he remains the light. The Sermon on the Mount reminds us of God’s great care. He reminds of the care God gives to a bird or even to a blade of grass and he then asks is we are not greater (Matthew 6:25-34)?
In the life to come, God himself will dry away our tears (Revelation 21:4) God will also bring Satan into final judgment. While we seek justice in this life, God will bring perfect and complete justice to bear on the wicked.
You and I should be praying for the families of Newtown, Connecticut. We should pray often and fervently for their strength. The God of comfort will come near.
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.