Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Ps. 23:4)
Thirty years ago, on November 9, 1989, after decades of Communist rule, the Berlin Wall fell and Communist regimes throughout Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union soon came to an end. History shows us that things tend to stay the same for long periods of time and then there are brief unexpected periods of dramatic change. The same thing happens in our personal life from time to time. We may go to school for twelve years, perhaps with the same circle of friends, but then we graduate from high school and things rapidly change.
Sometimes, though, the changes that we long for do not seem to be coming and we can lose hope because pursuing goodness seems pointless when it looks evil is winning.
Of the reality of evil in this world there is no doubt. For example, last week, three mothers and six children were murdered in northern Mexico. Yet if we only associate evil with the bad guys out there committing terrible crimes, our understanding of evil is simplistic and incomplete. For there is such a thing a natural evil, like the damage and deaths caused by Hurricane Katrine in 2005. And there is also evil within each one of us.
God knows about the reality of evil and the damage that it is causing to His creation. In His infinite love for us, God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, to deal with all the evil in the world. And God also knows that the challenge of overcoming evil is complex, for you cannot deal with evil by simply adding goodness to it any more than you can change red paint to white by adding white paint. Doing so will only give you a lighter shade of red or a reddish shade of white. To change red paint to white, all the redness of the paint has to be dispelled and replaced by white. God’s challenge, therefore, is to dispel all the evil in creation and replace it with His goodness without destroying His creation, because He loves all of creation and all the people in His creation.
God’s plan of replacing evil with good began with a Promise to Adam and Eve of a future Messiah that would overthrow evil and overturn all of its disastrous results. God then chose a small and insignificant People to reflect His character and love into the surrounding world. Through that People, came a particular Person, Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and Son of Mary. Jesus contained all of the goodness of God within a human person but without the evil that is within each one of us. Jesus battled evil throughout His life, especially on the cross as evil poured out its very worst on Him. Jesus absorbed all the power of evil in His human body, breaking its power, and then He gave up His life and died. On the third day that followed, Jesus rose from the dead and then, forty days after that, ascended into heaven as the rightful King of all creation. Now, everyone who trusts in Jesus is a New Creation with a new person living within them. There is still an ongoing battle between the Old and the New, but at the end of time there will be a Final Battle in which Satan and all his evil forces will be defeated and banished from Creation. Then Jesus will usher the New Heavens and Earth where we will live as His new people forever.
So, remember that you live in a battlefield. But also remember whose side you are on in that battle and how the battle will end.
Jesus is your loving Saviour. As you rest in His love and let Him live His life through you, He will continue His work of rebuilding you with His goodness from the inside out so that others may look at you, see Him and receive the wonderful eternal life that He gives.
Dear Jesus, thank you for bringing Your goodness into this world and into my life. Please help me to cling to you, for You are my life. Amen.