In light of the tragedy at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last night, I am reminded that we live in a fallen world. Was this act racially motivated? Maybe. But I know that racism is just one more tool that Satan uses to cause a divide, a rift, between God and humans. This young man did not just kill black people. He did not just kill Christians. He killed humans—God’s creations. He committed an act that was perpetrated by the ruler of this world.
When God first created man in His image, He meant for us all to live in a relationship with Him that had no terror, no fear, no sadness. Unfortunately, sin entered the world when Satan took on the guise of a serpent and tempted Eve. Because of the free will that we all have, Adam and Eve chose poorly. And because they chose to defy God’s command, we now live in this fallen world.
But God didn’t just leave us here to wither. He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice needed to restore our relationship with God the Father. And after Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide, our comforter, our counselor in this world. No matter what Satan tries to throw at us, we can be overcomers.
By accepting a relationship with Jesus, we have overcome the enemy. Not to say that we don’t still live in this fallen world with its tragedies, but we do not have to succumb to the despair that overtakes those who do not have that relationship with the Creator. We can say to Satan, “Get thee behind me.” We can say to the enemy, “I have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony.” We can say to those around us who do not understand, “Because of Jesus’ blood and the presence of the Holy Spirit, I have a confidence that does not rest in the situation.”
I have read and heard many pastors’ words today, and the theme is that even though evil exists in the world, God does not leave us to walk through it alone. Part of a quote from Billy Graham says “He is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering.”
My prayer today is that no root of bitterness spring up from this. I pray for all of those touched by this tragedy to turn to the Lord who is Himself familiar with loss. Remember it is He who looked at His Son on the cross. He knows pain. He heals hearts.