3 Scriptures for a Tragedy like the One in Sutherland Springs
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
Our world is fallen and, as a result, evil is inevitable among us. It was true in the situation when Jesus spoke these words recorded in John 14, and he knew it would be a never-ending reality for humankind on this side of eternity. Pain and suffering mark our world as a result of the broken state of our sinful condition. Jesus’ words in John are a reminder to us that we can’t look for a solution to evil acts here on Earth.
The peace that surpasses all understanding is only found in the person of Jesus; the One who is with us and will never forsake us, the One who promises to make our burden light if we cast our cares on him. As believers, we are instructed by Jesus to grab ahold of this peace and do so without being troubled and afraid. He has defeated all forms of evil once and for all.
Psalm 55:22 "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous be moved."
We belong to a God who hears us. He knows our innermost thoughts, worries, and fears. He’s on record over and over in Scripture that he understands the cries of his people. We’re not to carry our burdens alone. God is our shield. He’s our helper in time of need. God leads his children beside still waters. He cares about his people so much so that he stepped out of heaven and experienced this life in the flesh. He experienced the pain and suffering we feel, and he’s gone before us all the way to the grave and defeated death by leaving an empty tomb three days later. He is our only hope, and he’s promised to sustain us in our time of need. We need to trust him and submit to his glorious authority over our lives.
Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
As Jesus' disciples, we are disciples of the one who died for his enemies, those that opposed him, those that ushered him to the cross. Romans 5 makes it clear that we, too, were once his enemies when the writer reminds us that “If while were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Praise be to God that the enmity between God and us is gone. Praise God that he made way for a new creation and our hearts, as disciples, are no longer willfully rebellious and insubordinate.
Because Christ died and broke the chains of sin and death, he’s ultimately overcome evil with good. Therefore, as followers of Jesus, we are to let love triumph over evil. We are to let love triumph over hostility. We are to let love triumph over anger. We are to let love triumph over blame, evil thoughts, and evil deeds. In the face of tragedy, hurt, pain, and suffering may be a light in a dark world. May we be people who have the truth, hope, and peace of the Gospel on our lips. And, in doing so, God in his Sovereign grace and the redemptive plan will draw people to himself, even our enemies.