Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (John 2:19-21).
Destruction. It's been a part of human history since the moment Adam and Eve bit from the forbidden fruit. We see it today. We see it in the corruption of our morals. We see it in war. We even see it on our TV screens today in the form of the Boston Marathon Bombings.
After the Sandy Hook Shootings, I wrote about suffering and the good and bad that comes from it. In the wake of a similar form of tragedy, I now want to focus particularly on how God plays into all this.
God did not cause this destruction. The evil we see is nothing more than a lack of God, for where there God's true love reigns, evil cannot exist.
An urban legend (incorrectly) attributes the following story to Albert Einstein. The story claims that the young Christian student, when confronting an atheist professor, explained the reasoning behind his belief that God did not create evil. He said, first of all, that cold does not exist. It is merely the absence of heat. Next, he claimed that darkness does not exist. It is merely the absence of light. Finally, he stated that evil does not exist. Evil, the student supposedly said, "is what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart."
Regardless of the discrepancies in detail, I believe this legend provides valuable insight into the way we should approach evil as it relates to God. I believe that evil does exist; it is synonymous with a lack of God's love in our hearts. Of course, free will plays a major part, as well. We commit evil out of our own free will and out of disobedience toward God's commandments. Any choice that opposes God's message of love is evil. Only when we live as God instructed us to can we hope to witness a true abolition of this evil.
Evil is inevitable because each of us has the ability to push God's love out of our lives. God did not create evil. Man did. We create evil every time we push God out of our lives. Every time we choose to harm others and to cause destruction, we aren't living according to God's agenda. Our own selfishness and human weakness has taken over.
God did not create this destruction....BUT He can fix it. This is the light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, evil exists. It is inevitable. But it is not invincible. Jesus, on the other hand, is invincible. Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. Jesus was speaking about Himself. He would be physically beaten and tortured and nearly destroyed. But He would rise again. He would rise again because God has the power to overcome destruction. Out of chaos, He can create beauty and purpose. Out of destruction, He can mend the broken pieces. He conquered death, the ultimate result of evil. His resurrection reaffirms everything He taught; how, now, could we ever deny that Jesus has the power to conquer evil?
Jesus can fix destruction. Well, what does this mean for our world right now? The truth is that only God knows. We do not know how God can find beauty in the destruction we are currently facing and the destruction we are sure to face in the future. Nonetheless, we must trust in the Lord and acknowledge Him in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6). His plan is greater than ours. He is greater than evil. And whether we notice it or not, He is at work in the midst of chaos.
I can give you proof of that right now.
After the Boston Marathon bombings, it was reported that some runners continued running straight to Massachusetts General Hospital to donate blood for victims. Less than a day later, the same day as the bombings, the Red Cross tweeted the following Statement: "Thanks to generosity of volunteer blood donors there is currently enough blood on the shelves to meet demand."
On Monday, we saw evil manifest itself. But we also so heroism, bravery, and courage. We saw people give without counting the costs. We saw heroes who emulated our Savior. Though these acts of kindness can't erase what happened, they can give humankind hope. They can remind us that despite the inevitability of destruction, a God-given light exists in each one of us that is powerful enough to dispel darkness and bring comfort in times of suffering.
Maybe you don't believe that beauty can come from tragedy. It is hard to believe in the midst of current events. However, I ask that you trust. Trust in God. Have faith. Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see (Hebrews 1:11). You may not see the beauty now, but have faith; God, in His own time, will reveal it.