Thoughts on terror, evil and the call to pray
I'm sure that you, as I did, woke up to the terrible news of the terror attack in Manchester last night. As the details emerged, the extent of the evil and devastation became painfully clear.
Once again we're left with feelings of anger, sadness, frustration and worry. To be honest, I can't even try to imagine how the families of the victims must be feeling today.
No words can make up for what's happened, and from our perspective as Christians, simple answers seem too thin when the depth of the hurt is so raw and so real.
When we consider all the places around the world facing the threat and reality of ongoing terrorist attacks, it's almost overwhelming.
On Sunday our Bible reading will include these words from Peter:
'Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.' (1 Peter 5:7-11)
For some people these would just be words, but to believe in the God of the Bible is to believe in a God who cares and who has the power to restore creation from even the most heinous acts of evil.
Faith in Christ doesn't take away the pain.
It doesn't shield us from the reality of life in a fallen world and the hurt that some people seem determined to inflict.
But it does mean that even in the darkness, there is still a light that shines.
We don't believe in easy answers, but in a hard-won victory on the cross.
A victory over the powers of darkness which will one day establish a renewed creation - free from tears, pain, sickness and death.
Let's pray for Manchester, and the individual lives that have been lost or changed forever.
Let's pray for our nation and our world.
Let's live to model the love that we've received from our saviour, Jesus Christ.