Our world is an evil place. We were reminded of that in a powerful way 18 years ago today. Our world is an evil place. Evil men trained and prepared and died to kill as many people as they possibly could. It’s easy for us to be lulled into a false sense of security. It’s easy for us to buy into the false idea that we and our world are basically good. And then something like 9/11 happens, and we’re reminded that our world is an evil place. That shouldn’t really surprise us, because that evil lives in our own hearts. It’s terrifying to think of the evil that we and others are able to commit. What can we do in the face of evil?
A long time ago, the Israelites were facing their own 9/11. Instead of a terrorist attack, the evil king of Assyria had surrounded Jerusalem with 185,000 soldiers ready to slaughter as many people as possible. That’s a lot of evil! But King Hezekiah knew what to do in the face of evil. He encouraged his terrified people with these words: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8).
Our world is an evil place, but there is a greater power with us than with him. By God’s grace, you—like Hezekiah—know who that power is: the Lord our God! Jesus knows evil. He faced it. Not terrorists flying planes. Jesus faced the devil and all of his demons throughout the decades of his life on earth. Then on one day that we call “Good,” Jesus faced my sin and your sin and the sins of the whole world. And he won! Jesus won once for all! There is a greater power with us than with any force of evil in our world. It’s Jesus our Savior, who already conquered sin, death, and the devil with his death and resurrection.
This is how you stand in the face of evil, with Jesus’ forgiveness covering all of your sin and the power of God and his angels surrounding your life. Do you know how it turned out for King Hezekiah and his people? One night, God’s angel went through the enemy camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers to rescue God’s people. God fights our battles! But even if one day God doesn’t save our lives here on earth, we know that we’ll keep on living with Jesus in heaven. That’s how you stand in the face of evil!
As you remember all those who died on 9/11 and the great evil that caused their deaths, don’t be afraid or discouraged. There is a greater power with us than with them. With us is the Lord our God to help us and fight our battles. Jesus makes us stand even in the face of evil. May Jesus guard and keep us all from evil until it’s time for us to go to heaven.