“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20).
I, like so many of you, just happened to turn on the television and spent the next several minutes trying to figure out what was happening at the Boston Marathon. The more I watched, the more I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It felt like I was watching a disaster movie.
It was horrific. People being carried away with missing limbs and blood splatters on the streets isn’t what you normally see on the news, especially that early in the day. The same feeling I had on 9/11 came back, only this time it felt scarier even though the terrorist attack was on a much smaller scale. I thought, “This could have happened anywhere at any marathon or half-marathon or 5k. It could have been The Music City Marathon and one of my friends who got caught in the explosions.”
I still have trouble accepting that it really happened. Did some deranged lunatic really blow up a bomb, then set the second one to go off just as the first responders were arriving? Did he really put shrapnel int the bombs to make them more lethal? Did he target that 8-year old boy or did he just have the misfortune to be in the way?
I can’t fathom the logic behind something like this. This level of evil goes beyond anything my mind can comprehend. A part of me wants to see this guy caught and shown no mercy, the way he showed mo mercy to these victims.
Then I remember the story of Joseph. How he suffered atrocities at the hands of his own brothers. How he ended up sold into slavery, the first victim of human trafficking in recorded history.
I especially remember his words in Genesis 50. What people intended for harm and for evil, God turned it into good and to salvation for a whole nation. Not only did survival come out of these atrocities, but salvation came through the person of Jesus, from the lineage of David.
I don’t know how, but I do know God will turn this heinous evil into good– someway, somehow. I don’t mean the act itself was good or that the aftermath is anything worth celebrating, but a reason for all of us to mourn and weep.
Yet I do believe that there will be stories that come out of this that will glorify God. Stories of people who sacrificed their bodies and lives so that others could live. Stories of how people came together as one, running toward the carnage when others were running away, and giving a little glimpse of what the Kingdom of God looks like.
The most shocking part of all is that God offers forgiveness even to the very individual who plotted and carried out one of the worst acts of terrorism ever. No one is too low for God to reach and no one is beyond his love. No one.
So I’m praying for the families of the victims and for those who are suffering with wounds that are more than just physical. I’m praying for God to make this and every other act of evil right.
I’m praying more fervently than ever, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”
Yet I know that one day someone’s testimony of faith will start out something like “I remember exactly where I was when those bombs went off at the end of the Boston Marathon and when God showed up to me in a very real way.”
PS Interestingly enough, today’s Bible verse of the day on my You Version app was Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”