Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21 NIV

 

I turned on my cell phone last Monday morning to check the weather…and felt my world rock. Yet again.

We all know what happened: a madman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel raked the crowd below him at a country music concert with automatic gunfire, killing 59 and injuring 527. By now, the video images of the horror and chaos that followed are burned into our brains.

The first question we scream is, “Why?”

I don’t know. At this writing, we don’t even know what the gunman’s crazed motivation was. And trying to understand the God of the universe is beyond me. I would suggest it’s beyond anyone. As I’ve said before, a God we can explain is not God. Trust which depends on knowing is not really trust. Or faith, either.

But here’s what I do know:

  • We have an Enemy whose sole purpose is to “steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10) Whatever label the gunman might end up wearing, he murdered all those innocent people because he was sold out to the Evil One.
  • God is good. That’s Who He is. He cannot be otherwise.
  • God loves us. (Romans 8:38,39) He suffers with us and for us. If we doubt that, we have only to look to the Cross. Lee Strobel wrote: “God’s ultimate answer to suffering is not an explanation; it’s the incarnation.”
  • He can bring good out of the worst of situations if we let Him (Romans 8:28)… though we may not see that good right away.
  • What Satan wants us to do is to follow the advice of Job’s wife: “Curse God and die.” When we turn from God, when we descend into bitterness, hatred, and despair, he has won.

Tragic, terrible things happen on this sin-filled earth. Innocent people suffer. There’s little we can do to prevent it.

But we can choose how we react. We can be overcome by evil, or we can “overcome evil with good,” as Paul told the frightened, persecuted church of Rome.

How?

John Wesley answered: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

We can answer this tragedy by choosing to “trust God, do good” (Psalm 34:3) and, as Joyce Meyer says, “…give the Devil a black eye.”

FATHER GOD: The enemy has struck again and we grieve. Keep us from hatred and despair. Show us how we can do good and help us do it. Amen.

First published October 8, 2017