The Real Problem, The Real Answer, and The Real Hope!
It’s Monday morning after the evil tragedy in Newtown, CT and I’m still somewhat at a loss for words. It’s funny as I work with words on a regular basis. But sometimes they just don’t come. I’ve not been glued to the news and I’ve actually just shut it off a few times. You see, I know what they’re going to say. No, not the specific details that are coming out, I don’t know those, but I know the bottom line. The story will be the same and I just want to cry when I hear the fine points of little children being cut down in a safe school classroom in a quiet community. The story will be the same that has been played out in all kinds of places in all kinds of scenarios since the day Cain struck and killed his bother Abel. I just saw from a friend’s email that the story was played out again last night in another shooting. The story of evil in the world will be the same. While the magnitude will rise and fall; the story of evil will always be the same.
Sure, I’ve been to Bible College and have an advanced graduate degree from Seminary. Sure I can lay out the theological arguments as to the “why” there is pain and suffering and evil in the world. I can talk about the fact that pain is actually good for a human being. I can illustrate the point that people with leprosy don’t feel pain in their fingers and thus don’t know when their body is being attacked. So I can say that pain can be a protector. I can talk about the fact that God has given mankind a free will and other theological expositions, but all these reasons aren’t always adequate. How do you sit with a broken mother and father and offer them logical words to explain the death of their little child? I could with confidence tell them that their little girl or boy is with Jesus. Those children had not yet reached an age of accountability and we can someday see them again – just like King David was assured of his future reunion with his baby who had died. That might help. But that also doesn’t give adequate words to the problem of evil and why they died in the first place. So I remain for a loss of words.
However, what I can do is go back to the words of Christ. I can go back to John 10:10 where Jesus said that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” That radical statement says something we all need to hear. One it tells us point blank that indeed there is an evil one bent on destruction. It tells us that there is a spiritual realm, and there is a literal Satan who is out to destroy everything of God and everything good. In our super pragmatic and logical world, we don’t want to admit that fact and are comfortable in ignoring that fact until we wind up in a funeral service or are sitting by the television watching evil unfold in the world around us. It is a reality that has occurred since before the creation of mankind. It is a reality that no amount of government money or intervention will ever hold at bay. It is a reality that speaks every known language and exists in ever social economic and racial group throughout the annals of history. It is real. The sooner we scrap political correctness and embrace that truth the sooner we can move on.
John 10:10 also says something else. It says that Jesus can fix things. Jesus didn’t come to make people happy. He’s not Santa Claus. Rather he came to destroy the work of the evil one and offer radical life to all who would come to Him. The truth of the matter is that what we are facing today, and every day, is a spiritual battle. Satan came to destroy and has been about that agenda since the beginning. Jesus came and defeated Satan when He rose from the dead and that’s why we remember Easter. Jesus came to offer that same victory to us. At the end of the day Satan will finally be judged and God will set all things in order. But today, Jesus offers hope to everyone who will willingly come to Him.
Can this be “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?” Wonderful? If we look at the worldly circumstances around us maybe not. However, if we remember what Christmas means, maybe it can be. Christmas is a reminder that God came into the world through his Son Jesus Christ and that He came to give life. He proclaimed in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
If you’re one of our readers who doesn’t know that rest and peace, then give me a call or reach out to Christ directly. If you are a true follower of Christ who has experienced transformation of the heart, then take this opportunity to expand the love of Christ and the Kingdom of God in your world today for those who are asking why.