Evil assaulted the Church this week in Charleston, SC. While social media erupted with compassion, and political bandwagons rolled out, #prayforcharleston trended to the top of the charts. Far fewer realize they missed the opening ceremonies at this most recent battleground.
It is not coincidental that there was a day of prayer in Charleston last Saturday and an attack of evil this week.
God is real and so is the devil. This IS spiritual warfare. God IS in control.
Saturday, June 13th, the city of Charleston hosted a Prayer Event billed as The Response. Governor Nikki Haley took a prominent lead in calling Christians to fast and pray for the entire nation. Event speakers –pray-ers – included numerous high-profile individuals but “no logo, no ego” was the plan for the day. It was a day of humility … a day of bowing before the King of Kings.
“Our country is in crisis because we are a people who are no longer honoring God in our prosperity or humbly calling on Him in our predicaments … The call of God to His people in times of great trouble is to gather together and call on Him with one voice, one heart, and a unified desire to see great blessing and great glory come to our nation again. The power of unified prayer from a humble gathering of the saints is found in the hope that He might answer us once again, and turn the tide of our trouble and the host of threats that stand against us.”
So was that hope misplaced? Absolutely not! The presence of God is clear in many ways. The stated desire of the shooter was to start a “race war.” The response of Charleston, of South Carolina, of the nation—and of Christians in particular—has been clear. God does not hate; His people cannot hate. From individuals to the government, a God-glorifying response can be heard:
“These people are the heroic examples of the church. They didn’t push anyone aside because of race or the way that ‘person’ appeared … they didn’t say you can’t come into our sanctuary … they didn’t say you can’t sit next to our pastor … they didn’t say you can’t join in and learn about our God with us.” Facebook Post
“As we work to begin the healing process after this terrible tragedy, our focus is to lift up the nine families in prayer. Many people from around the country have asked how they can show support. The Mother Emanuel Hope Fund has been established to help support the needs of these families and the church during this time.” Nikki Haley, SC Governor
“Hatred can only produce one of two things … Either more hatred or true, authentic love. What happened in Charleston was hatred and blatantly put pure evil. Remember this … when someone wrongs you God judges two things: What they did … and how you responded!!!” SC resident
Hear the families call for repentance and forgiveness.
Jesus Christ promised that the gates of hell cannot prevail over the Church. That means we must mobilize in prayer and storm those very gates. Young men like the shooter are captive to the enemy. The Church must love … and the Church will suffer. Love suffers long. Jesus won the war; the Church WILL prevail but the war rages!
The organizers of The Response now call Christians to deeper, more fervent prayer. Numerous prayer vigils already have taken place. More are planned; many will gather in Charleston today.
Will you share a prayer of repentance, forgiveness and unity below?
Lord, thank you for Your church. Thank you for the lives of those at the Bible study who welcomed the stranger who responded to their love with hatred. Thank you for the forgiveness they have demonstrated in the midst of their suffering. Praise be to God that evil is defeated when Your love prevails!
Help us Lord to humble ourselves in Your presence in repentance for our continued indifference to Your commands. Forgive us and open our eyes to those things that are an offense to Your Holiness. May Your Holy Spirit make our hardened hearts pliable in Your hands.
Father, unite Your church together in prayer to defeat the enemy, winning one heart at a time for Jesus Christ for Your Glory. In Your mercy, prepare and protect us for the battle ahead. Amen
Amen! beautiful–thank you
What a picture of how God’s children are to respond to horrendous situations as this congregation did. Though this was such a tradegy, God used it for good to demonstrate to the world what His heart is like through the lives of those who were personally harmed.
Even reaching out to the offender to offer Christ’s willingness to cleanse and heal his hateful heart was profound and I was grateful that the judge allowed them to speak to the perpetrator directly. This was a great testimony to the world about who our God is that we serve.
One more thing, I am thinking about the way our Lord Jesus Christ became our example as He went to the cross to pay our sin debt. He showed no animosity to those who chose to be his enemies but prayed for them for he understood that mankind does not know what they do being blinded by sin.
Yes! I am so unworthy, so resistant to look like Jesus when it hurts so terribly. Charleston IS showing the way. We had a picture this weekend on the sermon powerpoint that pierced my heart. Entitled “Love looks like this,” the image was Christ on the Cross. Elisabeth Elliot once said “Love has to suffer.” Ouch. We all prefer pictures of love that are ooey, gooey, sweet and rosy. That’s a lie. Love is tough. It is humbling to grow in understanding. Thanks for commenting!