The evil that inhabits the earth is insidious, ever-present and ceaseless. No amount of legal wrangling or reforms, gun control, mental health laws, gavel banging, political grandstanding, or any other man made band-aid is going to stop it. It’s in the fabric of human nature. Since Cain killed Abel (Genesis 4), there has been greed, hate, envy and a host of other basic human drives that have and will continue to cause evil to occur in the natural world theater. The age old questions are obviously why does it happen and when will it stop?
I firmly believe it comes down to a fundamental understanding not of things natural, but spiritual.
As observers in this “world theater”, the majority of us look at things from a linear, natural perspective. In other words, we look at things from a single “line” of dimension. For example, we see the alphabet and the letter “A” and know that straight down the line there are another 25 letters until we get to “Z”. Another example is the knowledge that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Lines are comfortable. We like straight lines. Remember your Mom or kindergarten teacher telling you to try and color within the lines? Sure you do. Could you imagine running to first base on a zigzagged line…kind of funny, huh? Now, don’t lose me here, I’m heading somewhere with this. Our lives are pretty much linear. It’s the natural, human perspective on things and we don’t like deviations from the norm. Oh, sure…we all sometimes break and veer off course a bit throughout our lives when we encounter obstacles and personal challenges, but the majority of us come back to center. And, it’s pretty much a straight line, from birth to death. It’s how we like to comprehend and grasp knowledge and one’s existence.
It’s when someone’s life strays so far away from the line, thereby causing incredible evil (that they’re unable to return) is when we’re stumped and can’t fathom the reasons why. When an act of evil occurs that defies our linear way of thinking is when we (and, society) get totally freaked out. The human mind always wants to place a plausible or rational explanation to acts of extreme evil. We want to define it. That way, when an evil act is understandable, we can process it and calmly and comfortably return to our linear lives. We say to ourselves “Whew, so THAT’S why that happened.” But, when there’s no explanation or comprehendible reason, nobody knows what to do. Our lawmakers are usually quick to make a new law or two for the general populace to calm down. Then they proclaim”OK folks, here’s a new law, everything’s OK…please return to your regularly scheduled programming.” That’s fine, and I understand the mindset. They’re just as scared as we are and they realize they were elected to provide solutions and answers to things. But, they think linearly too and that has to change because it doesn’t always work. Politicians can’t stop evil, nor can any man made laws. It can’t be legislated away.
We have to adjust the way we see the world. It’s not always linear. As a matter of fact, it’s far from it. There are intangibles present in the world and there are things here we just can’t label. Now, we can surmise and assume a reason for evil occurring, but that doesn’t always make it right. Face it, things happen that are far outside of our realm of understanding and I believe some of it is spiritually rooted…and, not the good kind. Satanic forces are at work in the world and the world is the realm of the demonic. Scripture abounds with clear descriptions of this (Eph. 2 & 6), and it is this evil that can influence the lives and actions of some people. There have been volumes written on the subject, but I’m not going to expound on those particulars here. I just want to portray another picture that maybe we haven’t considered when occurrences of evil are indefinable.
The hope I spoke of in my first essay on this subject is very simple. And, that is to try looking away from the linear and looking up. In Mark 5:36, Jesus said “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” He knew there was hope and promise in this statement. And, in 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV), the apostle Paul writes about hope when he said “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What is physically unseen is God in heaven. But, He is here…as is the goodness of His Spirit. We see acts of goodness and beauty every day. We see it in our children, in acts of kindness between folks or in an incredible sunset over the mountains. God IS present.
As for the reason some deeds of evil continue and are allowed by God? I don’t know. They’re the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven I also spoke of before. We’ll just have to wait until we stand before Him before we know the answers.
OK, I know…a lot to think about.
Evil is not going away. It’ll just be packaged differently the next time it rears its ugly head, then differently again after that. I just believe there is an alternative to understanding and processing it outside of our linear boxes. When we bring God into the picture, we can bring our fears, concerns and anxieties to Him. This way, we don’t always have to have an explanation of things. He shoulders our burdens and leads our lives. That’s just the reality of it. What is also just as wonderful is the fact that God is not going away either. He will always be here and He will always be with us if we just let Him.
So, when the next tragedy occurs and its motive is unexplainable, just know that the Lord’s presence in our lives is His comfort. And, for me…that is all I need.