In times of darkness, when mankind’s evil actions seem to gather and hang over the world like a thundering storm cloud, we cling to two eternal promises: we are not alone and we are not powerless.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
In the wake of violence and tragedy, Karen Ellis of International Christian Response says people of faith have a unique response: we mourn with those who mourn, but we do not forget that our hope and strength is in God.
“Sometimes we rush to political answers, to sociological answers, or psychological answers, but the Christian understands that a spiritual problem demands a spiritual response.”
Our greatest weapon in response to spiritual problems will be the practice of fasting and of prayer.
“Of course, we don’t expect the world to understand; they’re just being the rest of the world. While everybody’s talking about gun control, these are our weapons. Nobody can snatch fasting and prayer from your hand: you can’t be disarmed, you’ll always have them in your possession, they’ll always be in your control.”
It’s difficult to understand or even to process why tragedies like mass shootings occur.
“The peace I think the believer finds is that God will execute perfect justice in the end. He will judge the shooter, the murderer, with the appropriate measure of judgment. The beautiful souls, beautiful brothers and sisters who lost their lives, will receive perfect justice far greater than the justice that we can meter out, in the end. But this is the tension we live in, between now and then.”
“All of these people are, in some ways, victims of this tragedy, but God will make it right in the end. We just see one side of the ledger sheet right now, but God sees the whole thing. When this man faces his Creator, God’s going to either pour His wrath out on him, or He’s going to pour out His Son, Jesus Christ.”
We join together with those in grief today, and lift up their needs to the God of all comfort. Karen shares a prayer for all of us for those impacted by this act of violence.
“Almighty God, you said “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Lord, there is comfort in you for those who are mourning tragedy, and we call upon you in this, our time of need. This is a global church issue and when one part of the body hurts, we all hurt. We’re not acting on weakness by praying, we’re showing that our trust has been put in you, and that we are seeking you out in this time of our grief. Please be with each and every one affected, and visit them in a very special way, by your Holy Spirit. Wrap your arms around them and remind them again how much you love them, how real you are to them. We give you glory as you continue to unite this fractured body of Christ in our country. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Karen Ellis collaborates with the Swiss based charity, International Christian Response, and travels internationally advocating for global religious freedom. Currently she writes and lectures on Theology, Human Rights, and Global Religious Freedom. She is president and co-founder of Makazi Institute, training and equipping the next generation of cultural analysts.