A few days ago a young man in Moncton shot and killed 3 RCMP members and wounded two more. One of the deceased Mounties was a Christian, and friends of his were interviewed on the news yesterday. He had been married for 4 years, and his wife is expecting their second son in September. They talked about how their pastor, before laying the carpet in their new church, had members of the congregation write on the cement floor of their new sanctuary. His verse was from Jeremiah 29:11 which reads, “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

This young man loved Jesus, and now he’s gone, victim of a random, evil act. Where was God in all this? Larger questions of evil loom large: why does a supposedly good, all powerful God allow such things?

We must remember that God went to the cross. God as the incarnate Son submitted to that same capricious evil that befalls us and so identified with our pain and hurt. How does He fix it? Does He just wave a magic wand and make everything better? No. He comes instead to suffer with us, to share our pain, to sit down in the ashes with us and weep and bleed and die.

God does not want a bunch of robots. He desires sons and daughters in relationship with Him. But in a world where relationship is possible, there must be free will, and such freedom means we will sometimes abuse our free will to hurt others, to hurt and kill even the Son of God Himself: as Luther says, we carry His nails in our pockets. When we hurt one another, we sin against the very One who made us.

But something else happened. He rose from the dead, proving that the seeming triumph of evil is not the end of the story. He defeated death itself.

I’m reading an interesting book right now, The Resurrection of the Son of God, by N.T. Wright. I’m finding it a slow read, but it’s an important book, well researched and deep. He examines what really happened on Easter morning, and what it means for us.

It means He’s the Real Thing. It means His death really did something to change our relationship to God: that we really are forgiven. It means that we were created for an eternal hope and purpose, that we matter infinitely to Him. It means that these feeble bodies of ours will be one day changed to eternal, perfect ones free of pain, and that we will live with and love Him forever. It means all the wrongs will be righted. It means that we are destined for ultimate joy and satisfaction.

And when that gets down into your bones, everything changes. We don’t grieve as others do; we know death is not the end. It’s a matter of perspective.