This week evil asserted itself on the streets of Boston. Some individual, group, organization, or political force executed and maimed numerous innocent people and struck fear into the hearts of a city and threatened the security of a nation. Parents, spouses, family members, friends, and America are left with questions that are all too familiar.
Why did this happen?
What is the purpose of it all?
What should we have done to prevent it?
How will we prevent it the next time?
Where was God and why did He allow this to occur?
These are among the questions heard from believers and non-believers. They are similar to the inquiries made after natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. We heard them after Newtown, Virginia Tech, 911, the Oklahoma bombing, and Columbine. There seems to always be a part of man that is surprised, and shocked, by the presence of evil and the devastation it can wield.
Many today feel frightened, angry, and uncertain. We turn to one another for support and call out to supposed experts for answers. But the world and all of its wisdom can offer no answer for willful, violent sin. The field of medicine cannot explain it; psychology does not interpret it; and law enforcement will never completely contain it.
Yet, Scripture provides a word of encouragement—a word of assurance—a word of promise and sufficiency.
God Almighty reigns eternal (Ps 47:8). He is sovereign and perfect (1 Tim 6:13-16). He is merciful and long-suffering (Ps 86:15). He is a God of order and purpose (1 Cor 14:33, Prov 16:4). His love endures forever and ever (Ps 89:2) and His judgment is righteous (Gen 18:25).
Satan, Scripture tells us, is the ruler of this world (Jn 14:30); but his reign is brief. He is a mocker of God, a liar and deceiver, and the truth is not in him (Jn 8:44). He loves destruction, he deals in chaos, and he rages against this world because his time is short (1 Pet 5:8). His power is a counterfeit imitation—it will not prevail! (Rev 17:14).
Even so, how do we explain the murder and destruction, the bloodshed and chaos? How do we answer the questions of the grief-stricken and give reason to madness?