“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1
It was just another Monday for most of us, but for the people of Boston, it was Patriot Day, the best day, because it was also the day of the Boston Marathon. While the rest of the nation readied itself for another work week, another week of learning, or perhaps a week of leisure, Bostonians and marathon runners from everywhere were readying themselves for an annual spectacle. By all accounts, it would be another day to remember.
By now, most of us have seen the video, heard the reports and prayed for all who were affected by such a mindless act of violence. Innocent people enjoying an event they’ve waited for, trained for and looked forward to for so long, no longer have the hopes of fond memories and victorious tales to pass on to loved ones. These stories, memories and experiences have been forever changed, and most certainly there will be a question that will be asked that might challenge peoples’ faith; “Where is God in all of this?”
Jesus was no stranger to violence; he also witnessed people acting out in senseless acts of violence and hate. Yet, the Son of God came to earth with a purpose, to save a fallen humanity from its very own sinfulness. Jesus wouldn’t accomplish this through retribution; he would not engage in acts of revenge against those who opposed him. Jesus came into our fallen world with quite a different plan. Jesus came to save people through love.
The love of God is so immense, so pure and so infinite that we humans cannot possibly imagine its depth. We cannot begin to understand the heart of a loving God who loves even those who would plant bombs in the midst of a crowd. Yes, I said it, God loves even the most despicable of sinners. Jesus came to redeem them too. In the love and mercy of God almighty, Jesus came into this world to destroy the power of sin and the grave once and for all. Jesus took upon himself human flesh and blood and laid down his life for the sake of all people. Yet, even today, especially yesterday, we must face the fact that evil does not give up easily and still attempts to lead people away for such a loving God.
Jesus didn’t say sin would simply evaporate because of his sacrifice. He didn’t teach his disciples that on the third day, following his resurrection, everything would be made whole and good. What Jesus said he would do is what he in fact did; Jesus destroyed evil’s power to make death the final outcome for a sinful humanity. Even as people act in violence toward one another, even as terrorists attack innocent people, the grave will not hold those who believe in God and believe in Christ Jesus.
God’s own heart, the heart of our Lord and Savior, is big enough and strong enough and filled with enough love, that even a tragedy such as that at the Boston Marathon cannot stand in the way of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. The prayers from the hearts of those who believe ascend to heaven and are certainly heard by our loving heavenly Father. We witness God’s love in action through the efforts of those who come to help in such times of trouble. We see the love of God in Christ Jesus as strangers offer aid to another without even thinking of their own safety and well being.
With the verse introducing this post, Jesus assures his disciples that even as he is about to die, God’s mission will be accomplished and the world will be reconciled through him. Even as events are about to turn for the worse, Jesus comforts his disciples. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” Throughout Holy Scripture, God’s people understand and believe that God does indeed deliver his people. Always has…always will. And even as we live in a world where bad things happen, Christ has prepared a place where love prevails, forever and ever. If it were not so, Jesus would not have said it. This is our hope. Let not your hearts be troubled, for the heart of our loving God is big enough and strong enough and filled with enough love, that even the tragic events in Boston cannot stand in the way of God’s salvation.
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