A few years back Mt. St. Helens exploded, plumes of ash filled the sky and the axis of the earth tilted ever so slightly. Panic and fear gripped every nation as the media presented this horrid act of nature and the likely outcomes we would surely come to face. None of which came to pass.
Katrina, Hugo, droughts, wild fires, mudslides, earth quakes…over the years we have been devastated by many things we could do nothing about. Things of nature.
But nature is not alone in wreaking havoc. Man has done a pretty good job of making people suffer as well - Oklahoma City, 9/11, Terror act in Texas, Paris, Germany and across the world. Hatred grows at an alarming rate. It has no boundaries. Hatred is dividing people, nations and even families.
We can prepare for natural disasters, we can ready ourselves for the unexpected. We can look at injustice and poverty and work to eradicate it. We can shelter the homeless and give direction and resources to the lost. We can cry with and lift up those whose lives are filled with trauma and turmoil.
But hatred has entered this world with a vengeance. Hatred masquerading as pride for country or pride of religion, pretending to have righteous roots and a just foundation. Angry men and women joining this cause or that cause just for an excuse to act on their hatred.
Worst of all…hatred breeds hatred. And so man continues to hate over race, religion, position, and authority. Thus the battle continues and world seems to spin in turmoil.
Hatred is not of God, for God is love. Hatred is of the devil, a poison straight from the pit of hell; carried by his demons and laid upon the hearts of men. How then can we imagine to conquer hatred? How do we defeat a darkness that has an army of demons keeping it strong?
Jesus spoke to His disciples and told them where to find victory. He told them, and us, how to fight against Satan and his demons. The battle for souls and the fight to restore the lost continues.
Christ shares in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 9, the answer we seek for the battle we find ourselves in:
“17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
Can it really be that simple? Yes!
The battle we fight is not our own. Those that do evil, those that live by hate and anger, are as much controlled by a demon as this boy.
While we must fight to minimize the damage done by hatred, we must guard ourselves against allowing hatred to grow in us towards those that evil has a hold upon.
We must, no matter how difficult it is, remember the love that God has shown to us. The Grace that He has shown to us in our redemption. We must hold on to the hope found in that love and believe that God has the power to conquer all.
This is a spiritual battle that God Himself will handle. Pray to your Heavenly Father, ask that he would grant peace to you and this world filled with hate. Pray that He would deliver those who are trapped by evil.
“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:4
Nehemiah interceded for his people. We too must look to heaven and ask for God’s Mercy and for God to restore hope to His people!