When I walked into the building where I work yesterday, I was greeted with the most glorious sunrise. I was so struck by it that as soon as I put my things in my office, I grabbed my phone and took a few pictures.
Little did I know, an hour later, all hell would break loose in Connecticut.
We’re never prepared for these things.
One minute we’re enjoying a glorious sunrise, the next, we’re wondering why.
Within minutes, seconds even, of the horrific news being broadcast, my Facebook feed started filling with accusations.
“It’s the guns. If we only got rid of the guns.”
“See? This is what happens when we take prayer out of schools.”
Times like these bring fuel to the fire that lies just beneath our very thin skin.
Here’s the thing. I’m not on the side of those who automatically go to the “we have to take away guns” response. I’m also not on the side of “our kids need to pray in school.”
I’m just trying to see this horrific situation as it is and to call is just what it is: evil.
We’ve stopped talking about evil in our world, but evil is very, very real. And evil is being unleashed at a terrific rate these days. We see it all around us, but we’re afraid to name it.
I’m not a doomsdayer. I’m not a “Church Lady” who finds Satan around every corner. What I am is a Christian who has read her Bible some, and what I see in the gospels is that Jesus is dealing with evil on a daily basis.
When people had physical issues, Jesus cast out demons. Why? Because Jesus recognized that often our issues are more spiritual than we give them credit for.
Some came to Jesus blatantly demon possessed. He cast them out. Because only He can do that.
When the Pharisees tried to blame the parents of a man who was born blind, asking which one of his parents had sinned to bring about this misery, Jesus corrected them and said that nobody has sinned. “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
The works of God displayed in him. In his heart. A change took place and the man was miraculously healed.
Friends, may we be frank? May we see evil as it truly is? There is a spiritual dimension to our lives, and, yes, it’s much more pleasant to talk about the good work that Jesus has done in our lives than to focus on the battle that is waging for our souls. Every day.
I don’t believe that this tragedy was punishment on the people of Newtown, CT. I don’t believe it could have been prevented if people had just prayed more. I don’t even get it much at all, but what I sense is that Satan is having a field day out there, and we Christians aren’t doing much to stop him.
And it’s not just in Newtown. This evil wants to stamp out our own hometowns.
This isn’t a gun problem or even a public prayer problem. It’s a heart problem that we seem to want to ignore. Until hearts are changed, evil will continue to run rampant, Satan will continue to be unleashed, and the spiritual battle will rage.
Praise God that He wins in the end and that He doesn’t leave us helpless. The truth will prevail, and the truth is that God loves us. He loves the people of Newtown, CT. He loves our own broken lives and hearts enough to come to earth to die for us.
The picture is so much bigger than guns or prayer in schools.
What can we do? Ironically, we can pray. At home, alone or with our families. In our churches. In our hearts.
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He reminded them of the evil that’s in this world and instructed them specifically to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” There’s power in that prayer.
We can also do what the sick and the lame did in the days when Jesus could be felt and touched and seen—we can lay ourselves on His mercy. We can come to Him, touch His robes, fall to our knees and beg for mercy. We need it more than ever.
Our children need it.
Our marriages need it.
Our country needs it.
We need it.