“What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.” — Rick Warren.
Without fail, nearly every day on the news, we hear of another crime or another death taking place. Nowadays, the news and media in general, is nothing but a sad platform for the ugliness in today’s world. Nearly everyone heard the sad news of a shooting in Charleston, South Carolina last week. A young man took the lives of nine people in a place of worship.
Hearing such news makes my stomach turn and heart break so much! Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, Satan is very much alive and well in today’s corrupt society. God knew what he was doing when he portrayed him as a snake in the Garden of Eden; he is sly, sneaky and venomous. Satan does not care about who he might hurt; his only goal is to turn people away from Christ in whatever way possible. Any time we sin, no matter how big or small, we turn away from God and Satan gets his way. I think many people in today’s world have a skewed view of God. Sadly, many people tend to blame God for all the corruption and evil in the world. When, in fact, He is not the one to blame—Satan is. Satan knows the Bible extremely well. If he did not, he would not be able to manipulate people’s minds by twisting the Word of God.
What many people do not realize either, is that man-made resources are not the problem in today’s evil. Every form of sinfulness stems from a heart problem. We sin because we are selfish, prideful human beings. Jealousy and anger are outward effects of inward pride. No matter how much we try to stop it, we are all prideful. It is only with the power of Jesus that we can choose not to act in sinful ways when said pride consumes our souls. Only He can calm down a deceptive, broken, and contrite heart.
Now, I am sure some are asking, then why did the shooter still commit the crime, even though he almost thought about not doing it? That’s right, the shooter stated in his confession that he almost did not kill because of how nice the people were. Just as God has the power to bring people to Himself, He also has the power to harden hearts. God did not call everyone to be His children. In fact, He hardened Pharaoh’s heart EIGHTEEN times before he believed in Him! Some might see that as a corrupt and evil move by God, but it is really is not. God created everything and everyone in this world. Someone that awesome can do whatever He wants. It is not cruel because He makes Himself known to everyone. Even those in third world countries missionaries are unable to reach out to can know God: His Word, all of creation, and His people are there to proclaim His majesty. That truth alone shows exactly why people have a heart problem. I know this is true because I was one of those people, and I am not ashamed to say so. I spent years shutting out God, rebelling against Him, and refusing to believe that His Word was true in my heart. I did not have a problem believing all He proclaimed in my head. That was not the issue at all. No, it took years for my pride to fall. It took years for me to transfer what I believed in my head to my heart. The moment someone makes that transfer is the moment he or she must surrender all to Jesus, to give away the control. That was what made it so hard for me. I did not want to give up my control and let go of my pride. And sadly, though I do not know the Charleston shooter, his pride probably ensued him to commit the crime.
Even though the story is a sad one, it also is such a beautiful picture of God’s grace. The day that each victim’s family members and friends told the shooter they forgave him for his act of evil was the day that God proclaimed His greatness to the ends of the earth. Even in the midst of so much corruption, He made Himself known through His people. That alone is what makes this such an emotional event in history. The LORD God WILL be proclaimed. Testimonies matter because of events like the Charleston shooting. Until the end of time, Christ will prevail due to the power that lies within someone’s testimony. No one can tell you how God worked in and through your life. That is a gift and blessing that will never stop giving. It is up to you on how you choose to see evil because there will always be evil. Satan will always try to be stronger than God, but that will never happen. God’s strength is like a consuming fire. I challenge you, next time you turn on the news and see evil, don’t blame God, but pray for the corruption in the world. Pray that God may break your heart for what breaks His. Most importantly, take every chance to forgive and be His light in this dark world. Cling to what is good, and shout it out for all the world to hear. Share what God has been doing in your life. After all, you never know who is listening. God can do mighty and immeasurable things–believe it–because I have experienced it!