Early Friday morning there was a terrible mass murder in a movie theater. I won’t go into the details because I think most of the people reading this will know what I’m referring to. Many people have already addressed the topic, but I thought I would give my opinion.
Basically, I think of how it could have been me or my family. I was in a movie theater that day. I was with friends and family, but through the grace of God no tragedy occurred to us. I am thankful to God for being able to safely enjoy that time with my friends and family.
So, I begin to wonder about the victims of this mass murder. I have written a lot about what to do when we have tribulations in our lives. I am currently compiling those ideas into a book and I thought it was appropriate to echo some of those thoughts in the wake of this tragedy.
THE WHY FACTOR
I am currently reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. He is a survivor of the Holocaust and lived in a concentration camp. Frankl saw his peers die slow and painful deaths all around him. There were many moments he almost died, but it was hope that kept him alive.
The book is bleak and very descriptive of the horrors that occurred to the Jews during WWII. I assure you, after reading Frankl’s account, there is evil is this world. The devil is very real and he rots away at the hearts and minds of some people. That is what happened with the Nazis and what happened with James Holmes.
We know from the bible that people can become demon possessed. So, it is not hard to believe that people can become demon influenced. Like 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” The devil does find people to devour and he uses them to corrupt the world.
The reason I’m writing this is because I want people to understand the “why”. There is very little comfort to the families of the of the victims of this mass murder. There is even less comfort to the victims of the Holocaust, but Victor Frankl wrote something that will always stand out to me, “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any how.”
The “why “ is the knowledge that we are at spiritual war with the devil. The good news is that the war has been won. No matter how we see the situation, Christ has still granted us victory over these sufferings . He has given us eternal life and as long as we follow him we have the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
Job is the archetype of the greatest sufferer. He lost everything possible without dying. He lost his family, home, and his health. He suffered so much that he hoped that God would take his life at one point. I imagine that is how many people feel sometimes and without God in their lives, they may even commit suicide.
But a lot of why Job was suffering was not because of his circumstance. The trick that the devil likes to play on us. Blaming our circumstance, but in reality it is the state of our heart that causes us to suffer. When we respond well to the difficulties in or lives we will find victory. James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.”
Job becomes a better man through his hardships. His character changes into someone more like Christ and he is blessed for his change in heart. Job 42:10 says, “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” It is when he prayed for his friends that his life is restored. He had a change of heart and when suffering strikes our lives we must focus on our hearts and not on our circumstances.
THE SPIRITUAL WAR
Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil daycomes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.
Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor.Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.
Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.
These are some of the most important scriptures to remember. There is evil in the world and we have been given the weapons to fight back and conquer. We must always be praying and reading our word. That way when there is a mass murder, a holocaust, or another tragedy, we will be prepared.
Our response to the evil events of this world can only be processed with a heart that is grounded in Christ’s salvation. If we want to fight the devil we can simply give God the praise he deserves. When we are thankful for our salvation the devil has to run because that is a reminder that he has lost.
That is the truth. The sufferings of this world are tiny in comparison to God’s everlasting love. Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us andconferred on us.”
What stands out to me is the phrase “not worth being compared”. That is how small evil is in this world. The devil is only lying and leading us astray. The truth is that the devil has been beat. We are saved through grace, and evil does not compare to Christ’s victory through love.