Let us pray: Dear Savior, today we come to You with a heavy heart. Violence and evil have assaulted our country our people and our own hearts. Today we look to You for help, for answers, and for guidance. Lord, give us all three by holding before us the eternal love of Your cross. Calm our fears, steel our strength, and uplift our souls so that we can once more conquer evil by rising above it-as You did on the cross. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR TIMELESS, ALL-LOVING LORD!
TEXT: Hebrews 13: 5-8: “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Fellow Redeemed Americans In Search of Eternal Answers:
This week America got hit smack dab between the eyes with the problem of evil. No longer can anyone doubt that evil exists. It wasn’t simply politics that drove those hijackers to kill thousands of innocent people. It wasn’t mere envy over America’s wealth that caused them to disrupt our nation and inaugurate a siege of terror and uncertainty among our people. No, what drove them was evil. It was hatred and rage. It was Satan’s cunning argument that innocent human lives and souls aren’t precious.
During such times of crisis people who never seem to give God a casual thought suddenly pray. Their thoughtless expressions of “O my god” suddenly take on a whole new meaning. And after all that they begin to wonder: “Where was God amid all this chaos? Why did He allow this to happen? If He’s all-powerful and holy and good then why didn’t He prevent those catastrophic bombings at the World Trade Center and the Pentegon?”
This is the age-old problem of evil clothed in modern dress. It is the toughest issue any human being can ponder. And unless we want to be swallowed up by it, we had better re-embrace Jesus Christ with something akin to a choke-hold!
Point # 1: God is bigger than we are. As St. Paul says in Romans 11 when he quotes from the Old Testament: “How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things.” In theology we call this the “hidden God” in contrast to the revealed God. You see, God doesn’t explain everything to us. He has a whole side of Himself that we humans know literally nothing about. And since the answers to this week’s tragedy are found in that hidden side of God we feel rather helpless. However, we don’t have to remain feeling helpless!
And that brings us to point # 2: God has revealed all we really need to know about Him and about life in the Bible-specifically in His Son Jesus Christ. We know that God feels our pain because Christ felt it on the cross. We know that God knows what it is like to lose loved ones and cry because “Jesus wept” at the tomb of His friend Lazarus. We know that God isn’t namby-pamby when it comes to justice because Christ forceably kicked greedy men out of His temple not once, but twice! And we know that every soul is priceless to God because Christ died for each and every soul on the cross-yes, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.”
Jesus Never Quits Loving Us!
On Friday we held a memorial service here at Pinewood. We heeded the call of our President and the calls of many who asked for it. And I told those in attendance in answer to that question: “Where was Jesus when this tragedy was being played out?”-He was with those brave firefighters, cops, and EMT’s who tried to save innocent people. He was with them and moved their hearts to lay their lives on the line to help those in need. Truly His love was evident on Tuesday.-That’s what we do know. When the writer to the Hebrews states that God says: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” He’s not just blowing smoke. God means those words. Yes, evil exists in the world. Yes, people who embrace demons end up acting in a demonic way. But the faith-filled child of God takes comfort in the truth “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Men can kill our bodies, but they cannot destroy the soul unless we let them. And that, my friends, is where God and His goodness triumph! We don’t just live on an earthly stage, we live on an eternal stage. Evil may appear to gain the upper hand at times in this plane of existence but it cannot and will not gain preeminence forever. Heaven is our proof of that. Likewise, we see God binding up wounded souls and drawing people closer and closer together through this tragedy. Yes, in our unity as a nation God’s goodness is reigning supreme even today!
Think of Him with those little children crowded around. Think of Him healing the sick, casting out demons, and restoring sight to the blind. Think of Him raising Lazarus from the grave. Think of Him while hanging on the cross and feeling the torment of those thousands of souls who died on Tuesday morning-because that’s what He suffered on the cross, the total weight of all human evil and pain-yes think of Him hanging there and feeling that crushing pain while also showing concern for His mother Mary. What does all this reveal to us about our God? It shows that love exudes from His every pore. And what was true about Jesus then is just as true today. “For Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!”