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Spiritual Life

Seeking God After the Orlando Massacre

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Andrew Knox - Vice President, The 700 Club

I’ve been reflecting on the recent Orlando massacre, and like many of you my heart has been heavy concerning the deep sorrow of the victim’s families and friends, and for our nation experiencing another senseless slaughter.  Yet, I’m also despondent listening to the swell of rhetoric in the aftermath.

Naturally, tensions run high after an attack of this nature, but like me you’re likely struck by the intensity, of the hostile verbal reaction in our country. Political parties blame each other, people are divided by sexual and religious preference, and fear leads to a palpable tension that hovers in the streets.

But there is one, one who instigates, and provokes, then hides. He watches the carnage he created, remaining the only one unaccused in the aftermath. Unnoticed. He vanishes. Scripture calls him the “prince of the power of the air” who “deceives the whole world.”

The apostle Peter warned us long ago in I Peter 5:8-9 to “be alert, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” We can gaze our eyes on the evidence of this, and the heartbreak in its wake.

Intense anger and fear are natural, normal reactions, but not the best response. After the Orlando attack, I was reminded of the apostle Paul’s charge to the first century church in Ephesians 6:12: “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world-and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I marvel at Satan’s ability to wreak havoc even more effectively in the aftermath of terror, than in the violent act itself. And he does it through the emotions and rage of a frightened church. Imagine if we adhered to the scriptural charge in I Corinthians 16:13 to “be on guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage, strong…and do everything in love.”

What changes would we see if we modeled the love of Jesus to a hurting world, and were united in prayer against the real enemy scripture repeatedly warns us about? The one who blinds men’s eyes to the Gospel, seeking to keep souls in darkness. We can illuminate the world.

It doesn’t mean being naïve to the significant challenges we face in the streets and in culture. Jesus told us in John 16:33 that, “in this world you will have many troubles and sorrows…but take heart, I have overcome the world.” Too often we neglect the privilege of acting upon the authority Christ has given us, through his blood sacrifice and resurrection. Instead of wielding the spiritual weapons of the armor of God to defeat the enemy of this world, we bicker, we blame, and we lose. As followers of Christ we’re taught to be “slow to anger.” Easier said than done. But as we pray, remember our struggle is not against our neighbor but “against the powers of this dark world.” Those powers are headed by our real enemy, who hopes we forget all about him. 

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