Face-to-Face with Evil
(Posted March 3, 2022)
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair
When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy o’er your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
--Crystal Lewis, Author
It’s only the day after Ash Wednesday when I came across this poem.
Last evening as we sat in the light of dying candles and soft music, we did so by putting away the bitter points of the week: an unprovoked war, a pandemic that is dying but is not done with humanity yet, a world that is suffering yet hating at the very same time.
The temptation for us at this point is one word: despair.
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The Function of Evil
But that, quite frankly, is what Evil wants us to do. When we start to doubt that God is in control, we start to feel unprepared for the task of faithful love in a time of chaos. That’s the function of Evil. To tempt us away from Goodness. From Godliness. To make us doubt.
Face to Face with Temptation
As we know from this Sunday’s Gospel, Evil has even tried this stunt on Jesus himself.
Right after the waters of the River Jordan, Jesus was compelled by the Spirit to spend 40 days in the wilderness, face-to-face with temptation. We even learn from the last line of this passage that, when Evil failed to tempt Jesus to sin, it noted that it would return to try again.
All of us have from time to time been tempted, and even have given in to that temptation, perhaps. All of us know that it might have been the first time, but it wouldn’t be the last, either. But in this thorny world, God will give us the armor to protect our tender souls from harm.
This Sunday we’ll put on the armor of God and know that God is as present for us now as he was for Jesus in the desert. Come and hear how.