This week, my family relived the day that my aunt was senselessly taken from this world a year ago. I still remember that call, almost to exact verbatim. There I was, in Louisville, for my week-long internship training and I was going to on a plane to Bosnia in less than 3 days. My world froze. The thing I remember feeling the most was helplessness to comfort the ones I love the most in their despair...
Here we are, one year later. Still broken, but still fighting to not let the evil of this world triumph. This year has grown me more than any before. I wasn't very close with my aunt, but I certainly loved her and the ones she loved most. I've felt more emotions than I knew I had the capability of feeling. I've learned to love better and fiercer. I've also learned about the Father and His love for us... finite, angry, messy, prideful, and imperfect humans.
When tragedies happen, why are people so quick to blame God? For the longest time even before my aunt was murder, I was haunted by the question, "Why do horrible things happen to good people?" and "Why would God allow such a thing to happen?" The answer is simple: This world is a cold, evil, and vile place that is "not under" God's authority. This world is Satan's playground and his forces are at work to cause any destruction he can.
Some may look at that answer and think that it is a cop out. However, this is clearly displayed through Jesus' temptation in Luke 4. How did Satan gain His power over the world? People fell to temptation. God is holy, which means "set apart." God cannot have a part in anything unholy. God did not want or allow Michelle to be cruelly murder. God does not desire for us to feel pain, depression, or anger. So, He did something about it and that is what allows me to celebrate Michelle a year later with hope for the future.
God redeemed us and defeated death.... HALLELUJAH! The chains are broken and we are free. Christ went to the cross with the sorrow of a mother that lost her child, with the evil of a dictator that slaughters half of a races population, with the cruelty of the man who took my aunt's life and with every conceivable evil in this world. And you know what that means? He ANNIHILATED it. It is defeated and has no power over those who love Him. He is the rock on which we can stand even through the darkest, most severe storms that this world can throw at us.
In closing, the simple words of an Of Monsters and Men song come to mind when thinking of this past year and wear my family is now:
The rocking of his house
Had me holding on,
But I knew that I was safe
From there on out.
-From Finner by Of Monsters and Men
As Tony Campolo said in one of our school's chapels this year, "It may be Friday, but Sunday is coming!" In other words, we may not see any good in the situation that we are facing in the present, but God has already beat evil. Hope is here, now, and forever. Amen.