Deliver Us From Evil
on 20 July 2012.

As I sit here contemplating yet another senseless massacre in Colorado, a myriad of disjointed thoughts race across my mind. Of course, a flashback to the Columbine massacre in the late 1990’s is inevitable. Shockingly, it does not seem like it was that long ago – a full 13 years ago. If it seems fresh in my memory, I can only imagine the freshness of the pain in the lives of those who actually suffered loss during the mass killings by those two students.

And now, here’s another one in Aurora, re-inflicting pain on countless others in the same kind of random act of violence. We will never understand what pushes some people over the proverbial edge. Truly, those of us who consider ourselves as awakened by God indeed infer that there are spiritual forces that govern peoples’ behavior. But why some are more or less susceptible to carry out evil is a mystery.

As one who asked “Why?” incessantly as a youngster, I no longer ask why for most inexplicably insane acts. I usually say that nothing surprises me any longer. Angers? Yes. Frustrates? Yes. Saddens? Of course. But nothing in this world surprises me anymore. There is a diabolical adversary on the loose and most people pay him no mind.

And then, there is also a most marvelous Friend in the mix who most people, sad to say, also pay no mind. Until something like the Aurora shooting happens. Then everybody wants to talk about prayer. We are indeed blessed to have a God like Him. Too bad more don’t know that.

But in times like these, so-called journalists who show no shame or restraint in sharing risqué innuendo become pious all of a sudden saying that prayers are going out for the families. Journalists and newscasters who love to put a spin on the news rather than reporting the facts, who unscrupulously employ volatile terminology to increase their ratings, will be in our face for countless days incessantly now. But they are praying now. Please…

These are indeed perilous times. We see it over and over again. And each time we say we’re praying and urge others to do so. And that’s wonderful – don’t get me wrong. But my concern with that is this: who is really trying to share Jesus with this troubled world? We continue to see young people commit horrible acts spurred by satan himself. And we say we’ll pray.

But who is really taking up the banner and going forth with a word of hope to this generation? I know there are some. But to be honest, before the Lord gave me the assignment on local radio with a burden for the lost, I never really thought about it much until the Lord showed me the black hole in Christianity – the missing 20-somethings in our churches. Ironically, the alleged killer in this shooting rampage is 24 years old.

We usually let others pigeon-hole us into how we are “supposed” to evangelize, in the way they say we are “supposed” to do it. How many are able to hear the Father say “Go” and “do it this way” according to the way He made YOU? A sister in Christ shared a method that a growing church was using to evangelize the lost. Praise God. But the method they use doesn’t fit me. The point is to find your groove and get in it, and work. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.

And once they are evangelized, let’s truly disciple them. The dilemma we have is we don’t like to take a cold hard look at ourselves. The truth usually hurts, so it is avoided. We Christians are good at avoiding truth. Things that make us uncomfortable are deemphasized. But while we hide and try to live peaceful lives, a word in season to that troubled person goes unsaid. A tragedy strikes. And we say, “Let’s pray!”

Well, Jesus did more than pray in ministering to people. In the coming days, we will begin to see the faces of those who were killed by James Holmes. In the coming days, we will learn more about them. I’m sure most of them will be portrayed as loving, kind, fun, giving, decent people. And I’m sure those assessments will be true. But how many truly knew Jesus? We won’t hear much about that, will we?

Lord, deliver us from evil. Not only the evil that’s outside of us, but the evil that is within that makes us complacent until tragedy strikes. The evil that tangles us up in its trappings of ease and entertainment. The evil that tells us that sacrificial living is for monks and nuns, but not average believers. The evil that causes us to be uncommitted and timid witnesses. The evil that makes us say, “Pray for the families and friends,” but then we get up off our knees and go no further with Your will to give a Word of salvation or hope unless we’re singing, rapping or speaking in a religious setting. Yes, Lord, please deliver us from that evil. In Jesus’ name, amen.