Finish Strong With Fearless Faith

Mass Shootings, Suffering and Injustice #55

May 30, 2022 Fearless Faith Season 2 Episode 55
Finish Strong With Fearless Faith
Mass Shootings, Suffering and Injustice #55
Show Notes Transcript

Recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas remind us that evil is alive and well.  Why did a troubled eighteen year old enter an elementary school with assault weapons and open fire leaving 19 children and 2 adults dead? 

 When tragedy strikes people are quick point their finger to God.  They ask why a loving God would allow such terrible events to occur.  In this episode of Finish Strong, Brian, Terry and Dan give a very thorough explanation as to why evil exists and how suffering can ultimately be turned into good.  They also point out that justice delayed is not justice denied.

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John Matarazzo:

Live your life with purpose, change someone's life for the better, and leave a lasting impact on those around you. Welcome to finish strong, the podcast designed to help you discover your unique purpose and develop a plan to leave a powerful legacy. Dan, Brian and Terry are ready. So let's get started.

Dan Wheeler:

Well, if ever, you've wondered if there is pure evil in the world, the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and you've all dead Texas should leave no doubt. There is evil in the world. There is suffering, there is injustice. And in this edition of finish strong, we're going to discuss why that is. But we're also going to give you hope, hope that God is there with you in the darkest times in in our greatest sufferings. My name is Dan Wheeler, I'm joined by Terry Steen and Brian Rowland for this edition of finished strong. Guys, you know, I think one of the biggest objections to Christianity is the fact that there is pain and suffering in the world. And you often hear people say, if there's a loving God, how could these things happen? Some people say why does he do this? Or why does He allow it? And there's not an easy answer. But we do live in a fallen world. I mean, ever since the Garden of Eden in Genesis 315 through 19. God said, because you disobeyed me, because he chose to eat the one tree. I said, not to eat of knowledge. Now there's going to be pain, there's going to be suffering, right?

Terry Steen:

Yeah, I think it's always an issue of finding that balance between God's sovereignty and man's will. And God gave us a will to make the decisions that we make, he's not going to force things upon us. But when things do happen, that's where we have to sort it all out.

Brian Roland:

It's the same as you said, with the Garden of Eden with Cain and Abel, you look at it, I mean, most suffering and pain is caused by people. war, famine, poverty, murder, you know, most, most of the pain that exists in the world is really evil perpetuated by other people. And that really comes from the fall of humanity.

Dan Wheeler:

You know, an 18 year old kid walks into a supermarket in Buffalo, opens fire and kills 10 people. Then just a few days ago, in Rob Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, an 18 year old high school student, first shot his grandmother, then went and killed 19, children, to adult teachers, these things are hard to wrap your head around. And people are saying, Where is God and all this? And I say God is there. He's in the midst of it. And, you know, if we were to try to prevent all evil, than we'd have to remove all of our freedoms, I mean, we have the freedom to choose, and people can choose to do evil or to do good. They can choose to serve God for Satan. And that's the other part of this. Where does evil come from? There is a devil. His name is sane.

Terry Steen:

Yeah. And really, the Bible makes it very clear when he's telling us in Ephesians, that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness. And that Satan, we have to come against that.

Dan Wheeler:

Some people just can never get over this. I read an interesting story the other day, I don't know if you guys have ever heard of a man named Charles Templeton. But he was close friends with Billy Graham and the early days of Billy Graham's ministry. And there were a lot of people that thought that Templeton was going to have an even larger ministry and more reach even the Billy Graham. But at one point, Templeton had a, he came to a real crisis point in his faith, he saw a picture in Life Magazine, of a woman holding her baby who was dying from the drought. There wasn't any water and she's looking up saying why God? And Templeton thought, you know, where is God? I can't there. He must not be loving. If he lets these things happen and the rest of his life, he became an agnostic, very sad story. And he passed away several years ago, but some people can understand that just as there's good, there's also evil. It's a problem. It's a big problem we have to talk about, but you know, if we removed all freedom, we'd be reduced to puppets. Right? There'll be no choice to do good. If there wasn't evil.

Brian Roland:

You know, I jotted down a few notes when I was discussing evil, evil in the world and I looked at the decline of community, the rise of individualism, consumerism, falling, falling values, family breakdown, youth crime, drugs and alcohol abuse, poverty, immigration and racism, crime. I mean, all these when you think about it, that there was an influential think tank that came up with 10 of these, which were the modern social evils that are facing society. And when I read that and go, boy, that's it, and said, exactly this is what works, or the breakdown is and how this all starts. And but what is, what is the root cause of making the starter who's the one that makes the start. And then of course, the Satan, he's the one that's the one that's the author of confusion. He's the one that throws these ideas into people's minds. And then they react on this because they do not have a foundation standby.

Terry Steen:

And it seems like the world is getting darker, and darker and darker. Sometimes it feels like Satan's winning the battle. And that's, you know, even for a Christian that can be that can be I don't even know what the word is for. But depressing is not a good word to use. But it's discouraging, I guess, would be a better word for it. And that is, the enemy knows that he only has so much time, right? Because the victory is coming for the Christian. And so he's working overtime. And for those who don't get that Holy Spirit, or that acceptance of Jesus in their life, they're marked their markers, they're, they're susceptible to this darkness, it's overtaken the world.

Dan Wheeler:

And I just had a thought, you know, when a society tends to remove God, and you know, there's all this push to remove and God We Trust and to say, oh, there's so many religions, and we shouldn't have it and total separation of church and government. And you think about the 1960s is when we started to take God out of schools. Yeah. And you know, if we're not going to have him there, invite him there. He's not going to stay there. And it seems like all these things, bad things have been happening in schools. And yet, you know, I read recently in the news, that's certain senators and politicians are, are even decrying people who say we're praying for those people in Texas are saying, Fu and F, your prayers and just terrible things. Wow. And you know, if we don't pray, if we don't see God, if we continue down this path of being a godless society, I mean, we see what's happened around the world in history, whenever Gods removed and a dictator takes over, and they take God out of it, because God is a threat to a dictator, or to people in power. This is what happens. You see, Satan is going to just go in there and fill that void

Terry Steen:

with evil. Yeah, and he's only got so much time we know where the end of the battle is, we know as we read the end of the book, that we do win. So as Christians, we have that opportunity to stand a little taller, stand a little stronger, walk in the peace, knowing that, yes, we know things are going to get darker, but there will be an end to it.

Dan Wheeler:

And we do have the ability to put on the whole armor of God. You mentioned Ephesians, 612 and 13. Earlier, Terry, and it's so true. It says in verse 11, Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day. And having done all the stand, I'm telling you, Christians, this is not play time. You know, we are not playing church. We are not just being Christians, when it's convenient, we need to stand strong. We need to fight the devil, and we need to spend time in prayer and fasting and get serious about this war that we're in because I'll tell you what, guys, I you know, I have trouble the news, it is depressing. We have to spend more time focusing on God and getting his strength and his power because, like it or not, God chose for us to be born into a time such as this.

Brian Roland:

And what you're saying to Dan, it's so real in the world today. Whereas we grew up I mean, a lot of it was you go to church on Sunday, and then you go through the week and you do your thing, go back to church on Sunday. And you know, that's that's what has become a pattern for many people. And then a lot of people just dropped off from even doing that. But now it is seven days a week. You have to be on fire. You have to be in the word you have to be in prayer. You have to continually be seeking the Lord because the devil is not slowing down. out, Satan is getting stronger and stronger. And he's given everything like Terry said, given everything he can. And the only way to fight back on that with the full armor is to be prepared every day, not just on Sundays, not just plan on playing Christian today, you have to live your life like that every day. And keep him first and keep in prayer and keep asking for that protection to not only you and your family net, but around other people and that this Satan's going to still try to, he's going to tempt, he's going to make people suffer. I mean, it's going to happen. And this, those are just for a time when we have Christ in our life, we can lean back on him saying, you've already gone through this, you've already suffered for us, you've already been through it. You know what I can take what I can take, I know that you have your will in place for me that it's going to glorify God. In the end when I come out of this. It's hard to see that and all this going on right now in the last couple of weeks. But if we continue to pray, as God's people, there's going to be glory to God coming out of this someplace some way somehow.

Terry Steen:

Yeah, I think Dan, what you were saying about we have to take this serious, this is no joking matter. I think about how we talk about we as Christians are the hands and feet of Jesus, we're the ones who share love, are the ones who accomplished what he wants in the world. Well, the same thing is happening in the world through evil. And the devil uses people to do evil. And the Bible says that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And that's what he's doing. That's what we just saw happen. At that little elementary school in Texas. He was stealing, killing and destroying any used a human to do it.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah, I mean, you know, there's always the question of mental illness. And apparently this kid, his background was not great. But boy to do something like that, to take the life of an innocent child is evil. I mean, there's just no, you can't do that if you are a normal person with some shred of goodness in you. Yeah, so that was I mean, we're watching Satan just destroy all kinds of lives. But the question is, Can good can any good, come out of this horrific evil. I mean, we've heard all kinds of stories, I think back to, you know, September 11 911. And the stories that came out of that, and the bringing of people together and the spirit and the miracles. You know, we mourn for the loss of life. But we also believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And, you know, you have to look for God's purposes. I think that sometimes suffering can be almost for medicinal purposes to draw us it's like that, that saying, We've I've said many times on this podcast by CS Lewis, that, you know, God whispers us to us, whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience. But he shouts to us and our pain, it's his megaphone. And the Bible does say the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. Yeah. And I think we've all been at that point of just being broken. And, boy, this news, you know, there are a lot of parents and grandparents who are broken right now. And we need to pray for those people so much in the days ahead, that God will truly put his arms around them, and that he will somehow bring good out of tragedy. That's, that's the big point. Right?

Terry Steen:

It is, and why don't we do that? Right now, Dan, why don't we take a minute to pray for these families? Let's do that. Absolutely. Talk about being brokenhearted. Yeah. I mean, anybody use of father a mother? Anybody use a grandmother, a grandfather? You just couldn't imagine. Can't imagine what's taking place right now. And these families. The devastation, yeah, if you're listening right now, pray with us. Father, we come before you now and we lift up these families to you God. Every situation father, it's just as humans. We can't comprehend it, Lord. All we can do is come to you and fall at your feet and ask you to do your work. And we just lift up each family, each mom and dad, each brother and sister, Lord, the grandparents, everybody in those families, God, all those teachers, Lord, that devastation they're going through we ask that you would supernaturally make your presence known to them God that you would supernaturally allow Your Holy Spirit got to make its presence known Lord. And we pray that we've just talked, we can't in our minds figure out how anything good could come out of this Lord, but we know you're able, and we know what your word says. So we stand on that word today, God and we pray, Lord, that if any of those family members don't know you, as their savior may be this as it may be, this is the time, as horrible as it is, to have an eternal life is a win. So we just pray that God, that you would impact and move on each family member, comfort them, bring them peace, Lord, during this horrific time. And will thank you for, in your name. Amen.

Dan Wheeler:

Amen. Thank you, Terry.

Brian Roland:

All in all suffering, you know, does yield wisdom that does yield compassion, trying to look at the good things out of it. You know, I know I know over in, in Romans, five, three through eight, the Bible tells us where Paul was talking where he said, not only, so but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame but because God's love has been poured out in our hearts to the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us, he'll be there at the right time. It says there you see it, just at the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die, but God demonstrates His own love. For us in this While we were still sinners, Christ died for all of us.

Dan Wheeler:

And that is such an important point. Christ entered our world of suffering he suffered. He knows what suffering is, he suffered as much as any human being ever did. And you look at Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, Gautama Buddha, I think was his name. His whole point was he tried to detach from agony and pain detached from all the suffering the world, Christ and do that, and worship a God who came into our suffering, who understands suffering. And while I don't think he's, you know, the cause of it, I think he allows things like this to happen because we men, men and women are not puppets they choose to do right or wrong, good or evil. But when there is suffering, we know we turn to a God who's had a lot of experience with that,

Terry Steen:

that's for sure. So then pain, I mean, he's had loneliness. He's had rejection from his own father. After all he did. He's he devoted his entire ministry basically to 12. Guys, and they all deserted him at the time when he needed a most.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah, that's true. That's

Brian Roland:

true. And I think what you said then is that Jesus came to earth so that he would know how to lift us up. And he knows our trials. He felt our temptations, pains, our sadness, of our afflictions. He's felt at all. He came as a human for that reason. I mean, he was God, yes. But he came here as a human. And he felt everything that we fell in now and that we go through he had gone through, and even in a worse way than we're going through things now.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah. Jesus said, when he was giving the Sermon on the Mount in the beatitudes in Matthew five, verse four, blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Boy, sometimes it takes a lifetime, to understand why we've had to go through suffering, why we've had to endure hardships and pain. But there's always a reason I look at you know, we've talked about Beth so much, but how her passing really was the impetus for us to form fearless faith. We wouldn't be here we wouldn't be reaching 10s of 1000s of people every week with all of the outlets that the Lord has given us and given us a family if it wasn't for her suffering, and I certainly didn't want her to go through it. But you know, we need to grow. We need to mature through those. And I think any mature Christian can look back on a time of suffering. You say, Hey, that was a time of growth. I probably grew more I grew stronger. Brian, as you read in that verse, perseverance, we learn to persevere, and it can shape your character and your values, no doubt.

Brian Roland:

I think over in James 1234 it also talks about that day it says, Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish to work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. No, yeah.

Terry Steen:

You know, go on beyond suffering. Jesus was just as upset and concerned about injustice as to.

Dan Wheeler:

Yes, amen. And you know, I read something the other day, it said Justice delayed is not necessarily justice denied. I mean, the Lord promise, he said, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the LORD, there's a day of justice coming. And boy, I would not want to be on the side of the evil one, I would not want to die without the Lord. Knowing that that judgment is coming. A lot of people want to say it's not, but we know it is.

Terry Steen:

Yeah. And I think of the story of Joseph. I mean, you talk about an injustice through his life and right justice was delayed in that situation where everything seemed to be going wrong, and it was right total injustice, it was totally not fair. He had every reason in the world to be upset. But he sat back and listened to the Lord and the Lord ended up justifying him in the end. And the same with David, if you look through the Psalms, David's Oh, he's talking about that was some that really graded on him. You know, they didn't have traffic back then, like we do. But man, when guys shoot up that left lane to cut in front on a merge injustice to me that makes everybody Wait, I didn't I don't mind waiting an extra 10 minutes if it's fair to everybody.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah. And you know, they can, they can make some pretty bad gestures to as they're cutting

Brian Roland:

off. That's the one way he's right.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah. But you know, when you look at what we've been talking about what's been in the news last couple weeks with the shootings, boy, it puts all these little things like traffic and, you know, everything in perspective of the problems that we tend to magnify. And so as we conclude this, the name of our podcast is finished wrong. We need to finish strong by understanding that God does have a purpose, for suffering. It's up to us to look for that purpose, to find that purpose. And I like what you said earlier, Terry, about we are God's hands for good. We need to be the messengers of good news and peace and and we need to deliver joy and love. And, you know, there's I keep thinking, the verse where the Lord says, you know, I was hungry, and you fed me I was naked, and you clothed me, I was in prison, and you visited me. And they said, When did we do that Lord, and he said, When you did on Felice to one of these, so we need to be about our Father's business. But guys, I think you can all look both of you, I'm sure can look back at a time in your life where you suffered, and realize that that was one of your biggest growth periods spiritually.

Brian Roland:

It's true. I think, when you're going through any time of suffering, it takes you down, I mean, takes you right down to your knees. And that's the time when you get closest to God. It always happens you get closer and close, because you depend on and you literally admitted that you I depend on you will be other times you want to take care of it ourselves. I can do it myself. And that's when we get deeper and deeper into trouble. But when our suffering, we try to take care of it, we go into a deeper funk. You know what, when we lay down before the Lord and say here, put it on your big shoulders, He will deliver us through that.

Dan Wheeler:

It's hard to do though sometimes isn't a

Terry Steen:

Terry, it's hard to do. I always come back to Romans 828. It's a comforting verse, but it is a hard one. Sometimes people feel like it's a cop out. But we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and those who are called according to His purpose, and we just have to search for that good.

Dan Wheeler:

Boy, that is the perfect verse and the perfect thought to end on. So if you're going through difficulties if you're going through suffering, if you're going through wondering why a period of wondering why there's so much injustice in the world, remember, all things work together for good to them that love God. And there is coming a day when God will make all things right. Well, tough headlines been a tough couple of weeks. Hang in there. Stay on your knees. We stand taller when we're on our knees and just trust and believe God is going to work it all out. Thanks guys. And thank you for listening to us for another edition of finished strong God bless.

John Matarazzo:

Thank you for listening to finish strong for more information about finish strong and fearless faith. Check out their website eth faith.org Make sure that you rate and review this podcast to help more people accomplish their God given purpose so that together we can finish strong