I am writing this on a picnic table alongside the Pend Oreille River. The waves are gently lapping from a light wind, and in the distance I just heard what could only be thunder. Now and then I catch a slight whiff of last night’s campfire. It is quiet, peaceful, soothing to my soul ~ one of my favorite places on earth.
Our community is reeling from a horrible tragedy, the death of an octogenarian World War II veteran. He was beaten to death. Randomly. Unspeakable. Horrifying. Why?
People point fingers, claim racism, cry out angrily at one another. But we must remember this: we are all God’s children, and color of skin means nothing to Him. Oh, He delights in making each and every one of us unique, designed personally by the Creator Himself, and we should delight in our one-of-a-kindness, as well. But our souls are colorless. And that is what counts. That is who we are. “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”*
There will always be evil in this world (Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:2-3) as long as the ruler is Satan. And the more the world rejects God, the more gleefully Satan will carry out his plans against God’s creation. His ultimate desire?
” ‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.’ ” ~ John 10:10 (KJV)
Satan desires to steal, kill, destroy, ruin. For Satan hates God, and what better way to hurt God than to attack the people God created to LOVE endlessly, deeply, personally, completely? Jesus came to make a way for us all to escape the trappings of sin and death (Romans 6:23). His heart’s desire is that we would choose Him and the life He freely gives, abundantly.
Our hope is in God alone. For there will come a day when Satan is no longer allowed to rule here, when Jesus will wipe away our tears and set all things right again. We are promised that (read the end of the Book!!).
In Daniel 9, Daniel poured out his heart before God on behalf of the sons of Israel. He was a good and upright man, not perfect of course – “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” ~ Romans 3:10 (KJV) – but he followed after God. Yet he confessed with his people for their sins and took responsibility. His prayer is beautiful, and I encourage you to read it for yourself. I am just going to share the last few verses.
“So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Thy servant and to his supplications, and for Thy sake, O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary. O my God, incline Thine ear and hear! Open Thine eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Thy name; for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.” ~ Daniel 9:17-19
Dear God in heaven, we are so ashamed of our sins, and we know we have fallen short of Your glory. We thank You for sending Jesus to die on our behalf, paying our death penalty and offering us the free gift of life and salvation. Please open the eyes of others around us, that they might see You and run to You and accept Your grace ~ unearned, undeserved mercy, love, and forgiveness. Please forgive and heal our land. Bind back Satan. Protect us from his devouring and destroying ways. And comfort those who are experiencing loss and heartbreak right now. Amen.
Rain just began falling, tears from heaven, cleansing for our land. And for our souls. Now the river is boiling with the downpour, like the wrath and righteous anger of heaven on the wickedness of sin. Thank you, Jesus, for taking that wrath upon Yourself, so that we don’t have to experience it personally!
As we are accosted by evil and heartache in this world, remember who the real enemy is – Satan.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” ~ 1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
The devil inspires men to do unspeakable acts. Should men be held responsible? Absolutely! Justice must be served. Wrong is wrong. Consequences should occur. But let’s not hate each other. Instead, let’s pray for the strength to love one another, as Jesus loves us, and for God’s grace and forgiveness.
And come quickly, Lord Jesus!!
* this quote is oft attributed to C.S. Lewis