WE WILL OVERCOME 10-15-17
WE WILL OVERCOME
October 15th, 2017
Just as our country was attempting to recover from the devastation of the recent hurricanes, we were faced with trying to make sense out of the shooting that occurred in Las Vegas two weeks ago, when 58 people were killed and over 500 injured by Stephen Paddock at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. President Donald Trump rightly called the shooting an "act of pure evil" during an address from the White House, and it has been declared as this country’s deadliest mass shooting in recent history. Indeed, it appears our country has been overcome lately with both natural and human disasters. But as King Solomon said over 2900 years ago, “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.” Or as the New Living Translation puts it, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Murder is recorded way back in the first book of the Bible, by the first person physically born on this earth. We have more sophisticated weapons now, capable of taking many more lives in a very short period of time; but the evil that inspires it, has been with us since the Garden of Eden. And as the time of the end grows closer, Satan’s anger will only intensify, as Revelation 12:12 declares, “terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time." Luke recorded Jesus as telling us that “nations will be in anguish… and people will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world” (Luke 21:25-26). Yes, Terror. Another word that has been used quite frequently of late, especially with the suffix ‘ist’ after it. Yet another reason anxiety has increased among us at an alarming rate. But what should be our response to all of this?
Do we have the faith and the courage that 30-year-old Jonathan Smith, father of three, had that night as he saved 30 people, while himself suffering a bullet in the neck, bruised lung, cracked rib, and fractured collarbone, and then later told ABC "I don't deem myself as a hero, I just deem myself as someone that was doing the right thing"? And he is just one of dozens that ‘did the right thing’, some of which sacrificed their own life to save that of others.
Because there is something greater than fear. There is something stronger than evil. There is something that will never fail. And that something is love. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends” (John 15:13). And He not only said it, He lived it, for that is exactly what He did for us. And if we are indeed His disciples, we also must be willing to do the same. I pray none of us are ever put into a situation like the one that occurred at the Country Music Harvest Festival that fateful evening. And I pray that if we ever should be that the Lord would deliver us from evil, just as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. But whether He delivers our physical bodies, or instead allows us to show His love to the world through the saving of a life at the expense of our own, we must always remember that in the end, evil will be vanquished once and for all. Our spirits have already been delivered from the curse of evil, even if our bodies must still endure its effect on this world. But in the world to come, there will be no more evil, and all those who have been so seduced by it that they refused the salvation offered through the blood of Jesus Christ, will be locked away forever, nevermore to terrorize the saints of God. Then we will forever sing the praises of our deliverer, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord - Jesus.
Knowing this, why should we be fearful? The increase of evil only means the time is getting closer when Jesus will return, for which we should be joyful! Mark wrote, “In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door” (Mark 13:29). And Paul said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). While we are on this earth there will be shootings, there will be cancer, there will be natural disasters. Gun control won’t stop those who have no regard for human life, medicine won’t put an end to disease, and science won’t eliminate hurricanes and earthquakes. To put our faith is humanity is futile. To put our faith in God is the wisest decision we could ever make.
After I had written today’s message I came across an article that confirmed to me that I had written what the Lord wanted me to write, including the title, “We Will Overcome”, for in this article I read the following: “Tricia Garelts, the wife of an LVMPD officer and member of Police Wives of America, was standing near a large memorial of 58 crosses, balloons and flowers near the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign when we interviewed her, handing out water bottles and wearing a T-shirt that read “Overcome Evil.” And indeed we will. Amen.
Murder means to kill someone -
A terrible crime indeed!
But when we hate them in our heart,
We have already done the deed.
"Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer." 1 John 3:15