It can be difficult to see and hear about all of the horrors in this world and not be effected. This past Sunday gave us another horrifying look into the heart of evil. A gunman entered a church in a small town in Texas and opened fire on unsuspecting Christians as they were beginning their worship service. All told 26 people, including women, children, and some elderly, were murdered. Times have gotten so bad that people are not even safe as they worship God in the sanctuary of their churches. One of my congregants came up to me on Monday and told me that his wife said she would be scared to come to church in light of what happened in Texas. So, should this be our response? Should we as confessing believers fall into despair in light of this horrific development in Texas or the shooting in Charleston, S.C.? Well I say NO! Let me explain why…
The first thing we must understand is that Jesus Christ Himself told His disciples that “In this life you will have trouble”, but He followed this up with, “But take heart, for I have overcome the world” — John 16:33. What Jesus meant by this is that the evil of the world is going to attack us at every point, and in every arena, but we must believe that even as all these attacks come upon us, Jesus Himself will guard us eternally.
The Apostle Paul understood this truth, and based on it, wrote these words to the persecuted church in Corinth, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” — 1 Corinthians 4:8-12.
The Apostle knew that the evils of this fallen world will always be around us, but we must never allow ourselves to be shaken to the point of despair. As confessing believers, we must stand firm in our faith and practice. We must stand firm in our worship of God, never forsaking the gathering of believers. As we come together for worship, as we gather in Jesus’s name, the Scriptures assure us that our Lord is spiritually present with us. Therefore, we must gather in full confidence that our Lord is not only the protector of our faith, but of our lives as well.
As sad as it is that our brothers and sisters in Christ were murdered in their house of worship last Sunday, they are now being eternally comforted, and have received their crown of glory for giving their lives in the worship of their Savior, who lives and reigns in the heavenly realms at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. So while our hearts ache for them, their families, and their congregation, our hearts should rejoice that our Savior has overcome the evil that has attacked them.
By the way, the husband and wife of my congregation who brought this concern to me, gave me permission to write about their concern and my response to it, that in doing so, it might help others.
May God bless you richly as you live for Him boldly!