The Devil's Smile in a World Gone Mad

"The devil led the vilest form of evil down our driveway and he smiled at me before driving Tim away."  This is what a grieving widow said at a funeral for her dear husband who sought to sell his truck and paid for it with his life.  Such is the senseless of this crime.  Read more about it from Tim Challies' blog

By now you have heard of the story of the British soldier who was killed in a vicious, broad daylight attack on a London street.  The details are very familiar but if you haven't heard them, you can find them here.  I saw a picture of his young widow with grief overflowing and I hurt for her and my eyes brimmed with tears as well. 

These two stories horrify us because they strike at one of our greatest fears that somehow doing the most mundane of things we can find ourselves or those we love cruelly taken away by those bent on evil.  We could add the Boston Marathon bombings as an American tradition that was stained with the blood of participants that came from around our country and even the world.  Is there no safe place anymore, we may be tempted to wonder.

Yet evil has reared its ugly head in our most sacred and safe places before.  Whether it be the father who kills his family and then turns the gun on himself or the child watching television who is slain by a stray bullet or someone killed or assaulted after posting (or responding) to an add on Craigslist or even, evil has reared its ugly head again and again all around  us.

Can we protect ourselves from such evil?  The answer is both yes and no.  There are precautions to take that are helpful to minimize our chances of being victimized.  But how does one protect himself from a disgruntled worker who decides to take his wrath out on those just trying to make a living?  Examples abound on how helpless we really are to shelter ourselves and those we love from all evil. 

Surely, the widow is right, the Devil does smile in this world gone mad. He loves destruction, disorder, paralyzing fear and brutality.  Yet he isn't omnipotent (all-powerful) and he will face his end.  That is a comfort for us who view from afar but it can't be much of a comfort to the widows of Lee Rigby and Tim Bosma and their families.

With tears streaming down faces, voices cry out, "Where was God? And why didn't He prevent this?" Imagine the relief and comfort we could bring if we had an answer to this.  We would be theological greats of our time.

While this cannot be known there are things that can be known:

God is omnipotent, so He can prevent evil
God is just, so He can and will judge evildoers
God is compassionate, so He can and does grieve with those who grieve
God is holy, so He is more outraged than we are at the evil around us
God is the Comforter, so He can and does offer His comfort in the worst of our trials and sufferings
God is Sovereign, so He can orchestrate events according to His choosing
God is good, so He is incapable of doing anything wrong whether it is by commission or omission. 

So, what can we assume based on these attributes of God?

I think we can safely assume that God, in His sovereignty, chooses to allow a certain amount of evil without feeling the need to explain why.  His justice and holiness demand judgment on evildoers and that is realized often in this life but sometimes awaits the final judgment where all evil will be judged.
His compassion and comfort helps us to realize that the tears we shed and the emptiness and horror we feel is not felt alone.   Since God is good, and in light of all of these other characteristics of God, we can assume that there is a lot of evil that He is preventing, especially in light of the prophecies of what is to come when the Holy Spirit's ministry of restraint is removed. 

Our best response is to do as a dear friend and sister in Christ is doing who found out that it is best that she not have a surgery that could make her life better since the risks outweigh the benefits.  She said that God may never tell her why.  As she said, she must continue to walk by faith and not by sight.

To that I say amen and I would like to add one thing.  Pray.  Intercede on behalf of the families impacted by these tragedies and the tornadoes in Oklahoma and earthquakes and war and so much more misery and horror happening all over the world.  Perhaps this is God's way of communicating something really important to us: that there is something desperately wrong with this world and with us humans and we need to turn to Him.  Pray that more people will.  Man is a sinner in need of a Savior and the Creator who made all things and called them good is able and He will make a new heaven and a new earth where evil will have no place.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.  Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)

Even so, come Lord Jesus

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