I remember these words every time tragedy stikes: “these tragedies have taken away our ability to find words with enough power or pain to express our experience.” Well, I am going to try.
C. S. Lewis’ words have never been truer: “God whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.” I suspect this says more about us than it does about God. I think that God is always ready to speak, but we tend not to listen until our pain threshold renders us utterly helpless and hopelessly needy. Right now, we are both.
Let me be clear. I am not one who believes that God had any part in the planning and scheming of the Colorado killer. I know those who differ in a weird sort of way. They quote Old Testament passages and they say “God needed to get our attention to turn us back to Him!”
Let me be even clearer. While I do believe that God “allowed” (due to the fact that He is God and did have the power to stop it), I do not believe He “caused,” conspired or otherwise was partner to the devastation of lives last week. Clear and simple, in the early minutes of Friday morning, July 20, 2012, Aurora, Colorado had an encounter with evil.
So, what do you do when you have an encounter with evil? Well, Jesus had some experience with that and he said three clear things: you don’t live by bread alone, you should worship only God, and you should not put God to a test. (Luke 4: 1-13) Not a bad thing to remember this week as we make your way through the grief and numbness of evil’s sucker punch.
Mark it well my friends, evil will not win. Even with the ongoing concerns with those suffering with injuries, every day is a front-page announcement to the good that can and will come from the sacrifice of people who choose hope over fear, unity over disarray and faith over fate. Can those of this killer’s bullets be counted among those who took evil’s best shot and lived and loved their way through it. The apostle Paul explained how this could happen when he said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4: 13)
Yes, evil struck again and we do not know why God allowed it, but as my friend, Jim Denison, says regularly, “God redeems all he allows, even the horrific misuse of freedom he gave us so we could love him and each other! (Matthew 22:37-37)”