How Do We Control Evil?

Mark 5:1-20

This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain.(v.3)

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The man had lost everything. He lost his home, his family, and his decency. He became more like an animal than a man living in the caves and running around like a wild animal cutting his body with stones. It was the life that Satan gives because Satan hates people. Satan likes to take everything away from people. He takes away their families, their self-respect, and their concern for others. The man with the demon in Mark 5 would fit easily into our society. The terrorist with a gun going into our schools or driving a vehicle into a crowded market is becoming far too common. Heroin addicts are becoming an epidemic as people want to escape the world around them. Satan longs to bring suffering. He wants control over people and will destroy their lives in an instant. He is still very active on the streets of our cities.

Sadly, there is nothing that we can do to stop Satan’s control over people. The people tried to control the demoniac, but it always failed.  For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. (v.4) It seems that all that society can do is isolate someone that Satan has under their control. In our day, we have homeland security trying to stop the terrorist and massive programs trying to “prevent” drug abuse. We spend lots of money as a nation trying to prevent Satan from taking over people. Yet, all our science and loads of cash don’t seem to be solving the problem. We are containing the problem at best. Satan is too strong for society to control.

Our only hope is Jesus. The demons fear Jesus. "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" (v.7) The demon sees Jesus and begs for mercy. There is no real battle here. Just the presence of Jesus is enough to make this demon cry out in fear. Demons still fear Jesus. He has the power to cure the drug and alcohol addicts. He has the power to help a person with their own demons get turned around so that they don’t become a terrorist. Those who encounter Jesus and ask for Him to take control of their life will find salvation. They will overcome their demons and start rebuilding their lives. They will have friends and a future. Jesus can conquer all the demons that people face in life. The world around us will continue to find themselves at the mercy of Satan as long as they push away Jesus. Jesus is the only hope for mankind as we deal with the problem of Satan and terror that surrounds us.

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Job 42:5

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     Right now, there is a lot of suffering going on in the world. Hurricanes have destroyed homes in the south. Wildfires rage in the west. A troubled man shoots people sitting in their church. Why does God allow it? Why doesn’t God use His almighty power to end all suffering? If you want the answer, you just need to read the book of Job. Here is a man who seems to have it all and loses it in a single day. His wealth and children were gone; he sits in an ash heap and is covered with sores. His friends condemn him as a wicked man through three waves of dialogs. Surely, there was never a more horrible situation come upon one whom God calls “blameless and upright” (Job 1:8).

     Satan is confident that if God allows Satan to strip away all of the blessings that the Lord has given Job that Job will curse God to his face. Something different happens. Job ends up with a deep understanding of the mercy of God. With all of life stripped away from him, Job begins to see God as the fog of life lifts from his eyes. The waves of condemnation from his three “friends” have made him ponder the mysteries of God deeply. He has had to unravel their half-truths so that he can see the truth about God. He is not afraid to cry out to God for answers, and God responds to a man who has nothing but God. In the end, Job will make his confession and gain a new understanding of God before God restores a single blessing that had been taken. The great gift Job receives is that God is no longer abstract to him. God is someone that Job has met and understands the enormous power and compassion of God.

     Lying in a hospital bed or at home having lost your job gives a person a lot of time to think. The busy life has been stripped away. Time has been provided for extended Bible study and prayer. You can lie there counting the dots in the ceiling tile, or you can spend time wrestling with suffering and asking God why. Through the tears and the fears, God will speak to us. He may be silent at first as He was for Job, yet given time He will speak. In those moments where your dignity has been stripped away from you, God will open up your eyes to see His great love for you. He will invite you to the throne room where you can gain a sense of His wisdom and wonder at His power. God allows suffering to strip away our pride and self-worth so that He can teach us His mysteries and give us a worth that comes from the cross and can never be taken away.