Responding to Evil in the World

May 25, 2022

Our hearts grieve as we watch the news coming out of Uvalde, Texas. Another shooting.

Today the families of at least 19 students and 2 teachers are beside themselves with grief, and another community is in shock. We look on with a sense of hopelessness. We’re sickened. Having school-aged children myself, my heart feels especially heavy this morning knowing that this evil could happen anywhere. We hurt. We weep. I definitely hugged my kids a little bit tighter this morning before sending them off to school.

As is expected, politicians and world leaders express condolences and outrage, while renewing the call to take action—to do something to curb violence like this from happening in the future. Legislation will be presented again, and the chambers of our governments will once again be filled with frustrated debate for a while.

Yet, we still grieve. How should we as Christians respond to horrific evil like what we’ve seen in Uvalde (or Buffalo or Ukraine)? I want to offer us a few suggestions. Please know that I don’t wish to add to the wave of rash political punditry, nor am I suggesting that these thoughts are an ultimate answer to the issues our country is facing. I’m just a local pastor seeking to care for his local church.

First, it is entirely appropriate to grieve.
When King David was being pursued by enemies and was filled with sorrow, he cried out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me” (Ps 13:1)? In times of national tragedy, our natural first reaction is to provide our shaken hearts with answers. Why? we ask the Lord. Why would you allow such an evil act to unfold?

But events like what we’re seeing in Uvalde have no logical answers (at least this side of heaven), and this really isn’t a time to look for them. Rather, the Bible invites us to express our grief to God. Let us grieve over the condition of our fallen world ravaged by sin and hatred. It’s okay to shed tears. Express your confusion and anger to God and a trusted friend (rather than on social media or a public arena). He understands your sorrow. He can take your anger. Grieve.

Second, realize who the real Enemy is.
When tragedies of this kind occur, the world responds by pointing fingers and leaping into action. Again, political action may be entirely appropriate to try and curb such senseless acts of hatred. But as Christians, we know that the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers from seeing that evil is resident first in the human heart (2 Cor 4:4). So, our fight is not first with “flesh and blood” fellow humans, but with “the cosmic powers over this present darkness, the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12).

Church, let us see the activity fueling the hatred. For generations the devil has been fashioning a culture of death in our country. America was founded on the individual citizen’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But when one’s right to be happy is thoroughly mingled with the sin nature, one’s own human rights will eventually usurp the rights of other more vulnerable humans—whether they be ethnic minorities, women, or children. We’ve been seeing this for centuries, and Satan is the puppeteer holding the strings attached to the hearts of men and women—influencing, tugging, blinding. We have an enemy, and it isn’t our neighbor, Republicans, or Democrats. Again, we should be angry, but let’s focus our anger on the ringleader.

So finally, we should pray.
Paul says that when we sight our Enemy, to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Eph 6:13, 18). As families, let’s gather together tonight and pray against the evil one. Let’s pray against his deception over the hearts and minds of our neighbors and politicians. Let’s ask God to bring a kind of comfort to the weeping families of Uvalde that only He can bring. Let’s ask Him to send a widespread revival of the gospel in Uvalde, and in the cities of America, and in Wilmington, so that the evil so visible around us would be upended as God transforms hearts through the message of the crucified and resurrected Savior. Let’s ask Jesus to return to make all things new.

God will not overlook what happened yesterday in Uvalde. He will right this wrong and bring justice to the earth at last. We know this because the cross of Christ is the place where God refused to overlook evil and where Christ identifies with our sorrows and grief. It is the answer to the problem of evil and suffering, though we may struggle to see this clearly right now. But, as Randy Alcorn says, “One day it will prove to have been the final answer.”1

“Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. I said in my heart, ‘“God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.’” (Ecc 3:16-17)

Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

[1] Randy Alcorn, If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Evil and Suffering, pp. 208.