The horrific news of Sunday night's shooting...
So many questions, concerns, anger, hurt, and prayers bursting in my heart and mind. For awhile I could only pray in silence forming no words. Asking the Holy Spirit to pray the words and to give me words to pray. A few songs pop into my mind to sing in order to get my brain around the senseless evil which results in so much pain.
As I pray for the families and friends who lost loved ones and who have loved ones suffering in critical condition, Jesus helps me awaken to this horror. The horror of shock and unbelief. Soon reality sinks in; this attack was real. Hurting real moms, dads, brothers and sisters. These people did not ask for this evil. They did not sign up to face this overwhelming pain and suffering.
Neither did the teenagers in Daniel. They did not sign up for an evil nation to conquer them, enslave them, and then seek to brain wash them in the Babylonian way of life. As they found themselves face to face with evil, an evil King, an evil nation, they did only what any of us can do. They called out to their God. They stayed focused on asking God for help. As they continued to ask God for help, they were breaking the evil King's law. The consequence was death...more evil.
How does anyone deal with this kind of evil? Why is this evil choosing some and not others? What if evil chooses us some day? What do we do? Where can we go? What can we count on?
As the three teenage boys from the nation of Israel were sentenced to death and thrown into the fiery furnace by pure evil, what happened? God showed up. Instead of three burned up bodies, there were four fully alive bodies in an unlivable environment of fire.
In the face of pure evil, Jesus shows up to be with us. The best possible gift to pure evil is the presence of Jesus. If you have received adoption into God's family, Jesus promises to be with us no matter what. His presence in the fiery furnace with three young sons of three enslaved families. Jesus is in Las Vegas closely being present to those dealing with evil.
Jesus also has the power to bring good out of evil. Joseph's life story reminds us that evil, even from family members, can be turned around by God to bring about great things. Read about it to remind yourself. God also brings incredible good out of these three teens facing evil. He rescues them from death. He does not always do that. He also uses them to bring the message of the God of the Bible to them. Eventually, this evil King does bow his knee to the true God after years of consequences for his evil. The story in Las Vegas is not over. God is still moving, caring, healing, strengthening. It is only a matter of time to hear how Jesus showed up.
When we think evil has won, we must think again. Remember when evil must have declared victory over God when Jesus was nailed to the cross? The One who came to give life was brutally beaten, crucified and murdered. The One who came to bring forgiveness, love and true satisfaction, was hanging dead and buried. But, at that moment, when evil was celebrating victory, the curse on the world was fully absorbed by Jesus who took our place. Darkness seemed to reign for a day and then another. But, on that third day, darkness was snuffed out by Ultimate Light. Jesus busted forth from that grave. Death was defeated. Sin was paid for. Evil was destroyed. His death was wrong. He was killed by evil. It was evil, evil, evil. Yet, Jesus conquered evil. Jesus offers new life even from death. Jesus offers hope when there seems to be no hope. Jesus offers His presence even in the face of evil. Jesus promises eternal life in Him for those who respond to His invitation with a "Yes."
Thank you Jesus!
We are so grateful!
Praying for Jesus' presence and reality upon all who are facing evil,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.