Yesterday, I went online to check my email and found out about the tragic events surrounding the new movie The Dark Knight Rises. As I read more about this horrific night, like millions of people in our nation, I was filled with shock and disbelief. If you have not seen the news reports, around midnight on Friday, in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, a man dressed in battle gear entered a theater showing The Dark Knight Rises and began shooting the audience. Twelve have died and many have been wounded. I can’t begin to imagine what it would have been like to be in that room when the chaos broke out. It sends chills down my spine just thinking about it.
A lot goes through my mind when I think about what happened on Friday. Like, what kind of evil was at work in this young man’s life to cause him to casually slay innocent men, women and children. It also brings to focus how insulated I am to violence in this world. Though violence is a regular part of life in many other parts of the world and even in many other parts of our nation, I often find that kind of brutality to be surreal and something that only happens in the world of fantasy. But it is a real and tragic part of human life. It has become all too real even in central Michigan when not but a few weeks ago the lifeless body of a missing young boy was found buried under his porch. When tragedy hits it becomes very obvious that evil is real, sin is pervasive and that everything is not right with our world. Genesis 6:11 describes the violent nature of our broken world, “Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.”
Why is there so much violence? We don’t know why evil is allowed to persist, but we do know that God hates it and will one day vindicate it himself. We also know that God can take what was meant for evil and bring about good. Evil is meant to draw attention to itself, but God uses it to draw people to himself. C.S. Lewis wrote in his book The Problem of Pain, “God whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.” God’s words of comfort and strength are available to us to face the brokenness of this world. We also know that though there is pain on this side of heaven, a day is coming when there will “be no more tears, or pain or grief.”
This month at Community Church we have been talking about the major themes of this summer’s blockbuster movies and turning to God’s word for answers. A month ago we titled this Sunday’s message “The Dark Knight Rises” with the intent of talking about how God can help us when we face tragedy and uncertainty. So, I believe God has given a timely message and I want to ask everyone to adjust their schedules to be with us tomorrow. In our services, we will take some time to pray for the families and the victims of this tragedy as well as for our nation as a whole. I will also talk about some specific ways that God’s word gives us to handle uncertainty, pain and unresolved times of life.