Within hours of the Virginia Tech massacre, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Rapid Response team was in Blacksburg, bringing the comfort of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Three weeks later, our chaplains were called to Greensburg, Kan., to minister to families who lost loved ones, homes and possessions when this small town was flattened by a massive tornado.
Our chaplains were ministers of hope in these grieving communities, praying with hundreds of people and sharing the truth of God’s Word. These dedicated men and women are trained, prepared and eager to reach out with the Good News of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ.
In dark times like these, the Gospel truly shines. I’ve been encouraged to see hundreds of men and women respond to God’s love by making life-changing decisions for Christ.
In the wake of these tragedies, I’m often asked about evil and suffering. I admit that I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that God is able to work redemptively–even in our darkest hours. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).
I also know that we live in a fallen world dominated by sin, and we all have to be prepared to face death eventually. Yet by God’s grace, those of us who have repented of our sins and placed our faith in Jesus Christ don’t have to fear death.
God’s Word says that Jesus shared in our humanity “so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15, NIV).
That’s the heart of the Gospel that our chaplains shared in Blacksburg and Greensburg. God loves us, and His power is greater than all evil. The ultimate proof is Jesus Christ, who suffered and died by the hands of evil men but rose from the dead by the power of God.
Someday we all will die–but for Christians, death is only the gateway to life with God forever. What a glorious hope! “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57, NIV).