20 children's lives were taken yesterday along with six adults in Newtown, CT--a massacre that leaves a nation asking why and dozens of families shattered. For the Christian, the sting is even more bitter as we ask how could God allow such a thing. How could a good and all-powerful God allow evil like this into our world?
Others wiser and more compassionate than I have attempted to answer this question (When God Weeps by long-time paralytic Joni Earekson-Tada is a good place to start). And yet, the best answer I see comes right out of the early chapters of the life of Jesus. The answer being: God doesn't let evil have the last word.
Matthew 2:16-18 records another massacre of the innocents. The power-hungry (and probably insane--albeit emotionally and physically disturbed) King Herod had heard that a new king had been born in Bethlehem. This was taken as a threat...a rival king just down the road. Being unsure of the exact arrival of the baby king, he sends a mob of soldiers to take the lives of all male children under the age of 2. In a small village like Bethlehem, the number was probably much like the 20 innocents lost yesterday in Connecticut. Jesus was the main target, but he had escaped.
Here's the message I'm telling myself today. Why have I escaped? Why was my elementary son spared yesterday? He went to school. I picked him up. He was safe...20 others were not.
Well, Jesus escaped because God was not going to let evil be the last word. Jesus was the prince of peace, the wonderful counselor, the mighty God. He was the Messiah (the king!) of a a new kind of people (us!). Through his life and teaching, we're saved from the evil in our hearts and the hell of our future. But our faith is not an escape to be taken lightly. We live to go forth as counselors, princes and princesses of peace, and servants of the mighty (and amazingly humble) God.
So today, let evil not be the last word.
Be a different kind of people: kind, givers of peace, compassionate, caring, honest, and mercifully just. We've escaped not for our glory, but to advance the glory of the humble king who came as a baby in a feeding trough, died as an innocent criminal on a Roman cross, and yet rose triumphant over evil, death, hell, and Satan.
This is the path to evil's end--a narrow road, but a road filled with hope.