When Bad Things Happen to God's People - by Chad Coley.
This past week there was another school shooting. This one is different in that the shooter made his murderous rampage very specific. He asked his victims about their faith. If they said there were Christians, then he shot them in the head. This isn’t the first act of violence against the followers of Christ, and it will not be the last. As believers many of us are asking, “How do we respond to such acts of violence.”
1. Show the love of Christ
Grieve with those who are grieving and weep with those who are weeping. Our first care should ALWAYS be to those that are part of the body of Christ. They will need our love and compassion for their lost loved ones. The world should marvel at our love for one another. If you don’t live nearby, consider helping the local churches in that area to minister to these families (2 Corinthians 1:4 & Romans 12:15).
We serve a living God who knows exactly what each family member needs, even when we do not. We can serve the body on our knees asking God to comfort and encourage those families & use this terrible evil for the advance of the gospel to the glory of God. We are not helpless against these evil attacks. We have direct communion with the Creator of all things. Ephesians 6:18 says,
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
3. Understand That This World Lies in Satan’s Power
Satan is the God of this age, and he is a like a lion, seeking to devour those that follow Christ (1 Peter 5:8) He blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4) and deceives those in the world.1 John 5:19, says that the world lies in the power of the evil one. The world system that we live in is diametrically opposed to the things of God.
We see this in our culture today with the legalization of homosexuality and the casual murder of the unborn. Satan cares not for human life and will always work to destroy God’s design for the family. Violence against Christians is what Satan has used since the foundation of the church by the apostles (Read the book of Acts). Satan is a murderer from the very beginning (John 8:44), and those that are in this world do his bidding.
4. Do not be surprised if the world hates you
People that are not Christians, by nature, suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) Their hostility will vary based on their depravity and their rejection of the light of the gospel. There will always be opposition and rejection of truth apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s heart (1 Cor 2:14).
Jesus said it Himself in John 15:18-19,
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
John repeats this in 1 John 3:13, “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.”
5. Trust God
This is the hard one for us. We must remember that no matter what happens in this world, to us or to other believers, God is still on His throne. He is not surprised when sinners sin, and when evil doers do evil. We are not God, and are not privy to His plan for our own lives, much less the lives of others. We know that God is good and that He works all things for our good (Romans 8:28-30) and His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The prophet Habakkuk asks God, “How long until you do something about the evil around me.” God response to Habakkuk…”The righteous live by faith.” When terrible events happen to us or others in the body of Christ we must trust in our Creator who killed His own Son out of love for us. He does have our best interests at heart…
Every one of us has a limited amount of time on this earth. Make the best of it by obeying God’s word and walking with Him. We don’t know what day we shall breathe our last breath.
Our hearts go out to these families and their loss. Their loved ones are in a much better place in the presence of the Lord. They precede us to the throne of our Lord Jesus Christ. When one member of the body of Christ suffers we all suffer (Romans 12:15).
Remember that Christians have been persecuted for their faith in Christ for over two thousand years. This will not change until our Lord Jesus Christ comes back to rule and reign. Maranatha! (Oh Lord, Come!).