This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Marti Wiegman, Northpoint’s Director of Women’s Ministries.
“What Do You Say at a Moment Like This?”
The question came from a woman in our church family whose co-worker had been at the Las Vegas Country Music Festival on that fateful Sunday night when a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. While her friend had come away unscathed (physically that is), she was deeply shaken. She had witnessed a woman shot dead right in front of her—one of 59 people killed and over 500 injured in what is now the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.
Moments of tragedy like this hit us hard. And they come in many shapes and from many sources. They come in the wake of a chain of disastrous hurricanes or a notice to evacuate from a fire. They shake our sense of security through news reports of nuclear testing or terrorist activity. They come in an unexpected medical report or that phone call in the middle of the night that changes everything. It’s those moments when we want to pull the blankets over our heads and hide under the covers.
What do we say at moments like this? How do we answer questions like: Where is God when bad things happen?
Even as believers, it is helpful to remind ourselves of some very basic biblical concepts to help us give an answer to those around us, and even to let the truth do it’s strengthening and encouraging work in our own hearts.
The Bible tells us that evil does not come from God, but from the rejection of God. It is the opposite of everything He is. Sin and all the evil that has followed, even things like sickness and natural disasters, came when Satan deceived Adam and Eve and they turned against God.
The good news is that we also read in Scripture that all evil will someday be banished. The vast spiritual conflict that has waged between God and Satan from the beginning of time will one day be ended and God will be triumphant. Satan is already a conquered foe. Matthew 25:41 says that someday all evil will be cast “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
But, you might be thinking, how does that help me today, right now?
Jesus met with his disciples one evening, on the brink of one of those horrific moments when the whole world was about to be turned upside down. He was the Son of God, the King of Kings, and dearly loved by the Father who was pleased in him in every way. But none of that was going to protect him from the very worst that Satan and sinful man could deliver. At that very minute, Judas was meeting with Jesus’ enemies plotting against him. Jesus was about to be arrested, forsaken, rejected, mocked, humiliated, tortured, and executed.
Listen to what Jesus said in a moment like this: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
In this verse, Jesus offers two things we desperately need in moments of tragedy and heartache:
• The first is the promise of peace. And we find this peace, not in solutions to the problems of the world. We find peace IN Jesus, the Savior of the world. When the things of this world, the things we look to for security, comfort, purpose, or pleasure are shaken, we need to turn back with renewed faith to our Savior. And in him alone we will find the peace for which our hearts long.
• The second promise we find is that in Christ we can overcome the world. We can survive the disappointments, heal from life’s heartaches, and find joy even in the darkest moments in Christ.
1 John 5:4 explains it this way: For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
I think we often live the Christian life expecting God to protect us from the hits and hurts of life, to the point that we are disheartened and dismayed when the hardship comes. It would be like a football team having an expectation that to overcome and be victorious meant all the opposing players would run for the sidelines as soon as the ball was snapped, and they would cross the goal line utterly unopposed. But we know that is not the description of overcoming or winning a victory. The player that overcomes is the one that takes every hit but stays on his feet, that gets spun around but keeps heading toward the goal, and that crosses the goal line even if it means pushing through the pain.
Jesus is our peace that co-exists with trouble and heartache. He is our victor that enables us to “hang in there” in him when all our strength is gone. Jesus is the life-filled message we need to speak to those who are hurting around us.
Keeping our eyes on Jesus,
The rest of NP News for 10.4.2017 can be found on the “This Week” page athttp://www.northpointcorona.org/this-week/