It’s just a part of life; the question is "How will we respond to it?"
Ever since the Garden of Eden and the devil’s dangling of his forbidden dainty in front of Adam and Eve, there’s been evil in the world. And, when they succumbed to his tantalizing words of temptation (Genesis 3:1-6), they opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box of sin and suffering that continues to this day.
Thus, when terrorists planted two IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) near the finish line of the Boston Marathon last Monday, they demonstrated once again that evil is alive-and-well. And, even though one of the suspects had been cornered and killed as of this writing, the fact remains that lives were forever changed that day when those two bombs went off.
And, sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.
I’m not a doomsday prophet or strong supporter of conspiracy theories, but I have read God’s Word and realize that there’ll be an escalation of evil in the last days. This will take many forms — ranging in scope from a breakdown in relationships, morals, long-held views and values, etc., to increased hostilities worldwide (II Timothy 3:1-7; Matthew 24:4-26).
So, again, the question is "How will we respond to it?"
For some, they’ll live in constant fear. Many even now are suffering with P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) even if they’ve not fought overseas or been involved firsthand in events like the Boston Marathon bombings. Just watching live newscasts of such horrible events can produce PTSD-like symptoms in folks.
Others will become enraged and begin seeing demons under every bush. While becoming proactive in stressful situations is good to a point — keeping us from feeling so victimized — quite often this response can become paranoid and quite aggressive. It can also be quite distrustful and suspicious, particularly of those who look like the terrorists (e.g., believing every Muslim or those of Middle Eastern descent are evil).
But, dear Reader, both of those are extremes. And, we must be careful lest we succumb to evil’s terrors and temptations.
In reality, all of this is spiritual warfare. Truly, there are forces of darkness at work in our world (Ephesians 6:12). That’s why it’s important that we recognize it as such and wage war against such evil in the right way (vv.10-18).
Without a doubt, we must admit our inability to handle this on our own. For every terrorist that’s captured or killed, there are many others waiting in the wings to take their place. And, no amount of training in anti-terrorism, asymmetrical warfare, the accumulation of bombs, bullets, surveillance systems, etc., will keep evil from rearing its ugly head.
That’s why we must "be strong in the Lord and in the Power of His Might" (Eph. 6:10). Simply put, we must cry out "Help us, O God" and realize our utter need of Him and His Help. Pride blinds us to this, making us think we can overcome evil by ourselves; but, that’s a lie of the devil and it’s only as we return to Him that we have any Hope (II Chronicles 7:14).
Thus, we must pray—and pray fervently (James 5:16; I Thessalonians 5:17). Instead of continuing with "business as usual" in our churches, we should "humble ourselves and pray" (II Chron. 7:14a). No longer can we bury our heads in the sand and pretend like nothing’s happened, particularly when the Good Ship USA is taking on water and starting to sink.
Then, we must confess our waywardness and change course (repent) lest we soon suffer the consequences of God’s Judgment on us (II Chron. 7:14b). Here’s praying you’ll join me in this — for the hour is late and our future hangs in the balances.
To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled "Morning Manna," write him at P.O. Box 582, Coushatta, LA 71019 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.