Lord, so many things are going awry in the world.
Recently, he former prime minister of Japan was assassinated. They have few guns in Japan, so the killer apparently built one. The world’s leaders are all ‘shocked and saddened.’ It sounds contrived, but what else are they going to say? That they are ‘not surprised, he had it coming’? Of course not. Decency requires condolence.
I’m sorry for anyone affected by any act of violence. I don’t know much about Prime Minister Abe, but it appears that he was a kind and generous man. I pray for his soul and the broken hearts of his family and friends.
Lord, I pray for your protection from all who are bent on violence for any reason. Shield your people from the pain of sudden attacks that leave them wounded or dead. Bless the families of victims, especially children, who are caught in these dangerous situations.
And Lord, the minds of the killers – the demented processes through which they decide to commit these atrocities, whether to public figures and previously unknown innocents, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Cure these sicknesses and eliminate the causes of the sickness. I don’t believe that anyone is born evil, but I do know that corruption, sin, and hatred turn good people into evildoers.
Bless children like Martin Richard, just 8 years old, who was enjoying a beautiful spring day at the Marathon with his family when he was killed by a terrorist's bomb, along with three other people. And the children at Sandy Hook or Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, or Buffalo, or Columbine, or Las Vegas, or Uvalde, or Highland Park, or any of the hundreds of shootings that target innocent people.
So many senseless killings. So many lives cut short or irrevocably changed. So many fools who made terrible decisions and had a weapon that enabled them to make their decisions final. Their lives are over, either because they are killed in the incident, or because they spend the rest of their lives in prison. They may be sick or possessed but the world will simply treat the symptom, not the root cause, which is evil.
Satan is delighted by the carnage and its many impacts. He loves to see us all confused and distraught. He loves the grief, the anger, the groping attempts to assign blame. He loves it when we strive to assign blame to a lone gunman, or a small, 'extreme' terrorist group, or to people of a certain faith, nationality, or political leaning. Because these are not root causes. They are symptoms of a deep-seated, pervasive evil in the world. An evil that creates chaos, deceit, mistrust, hatred, fear, suspicion, and greed.
Satan orchestrates it all, because he delights in nothing more than hurting God's people. He especially loves it when we react by questioning God, whether He cares, or whether He even exists. This is what Satan wants.
We have to seek God’s protection to avoid succumbing to these evils. By resisting the instinct to strike out at whatever and whomever may be to blame, in anger and vengeance, and to the extent that we trust the Lord to handle it, we glorify God and ourselves and we hurt Satan in the best way we can.
It isn't easy, especially when one shares a personal connection to these horrible events. We have to trust that the Lord sees, and the Lord acts, not necessarily in a visible, earthly way, but in His own perfect way. Vengeance is His.
Lord, help your people to channel their anger and grief into positive action.
Help us avoid the dead-end process of seeking and sometimes having revenge.
Help us to pray for those lost or injured, and for those who perpetuate violence for any reason.
Let those who contemplate such acts rethink their plans and instead turn to you, the perfector of our faith.
We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.