The seventy returned with joy saying, “Lord in your name even the demons submit to us!” He (Jesus) said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightening.” (Luke 10:17)
The power of Jesus Christ, who is present in our hearts through faith, is capable of restoring us, and giving us new life and hope in the face of any negative influence we may have to face. When we feel overcome by grief, tragedy, anxiety or despair, turn to Jesus Christ in prayer and ask for the gift of his spiritual presence and love. In him, new life, courage, hope, forgiveness, and compassion will emerge in the wake of any firestorm that results in (symbolically) ashes, waste and lifelessness.
We might compare this to what happens when acres and acres of forest and meadow are laid waste by a fire. Once the flames are put out, there is nothing left but ashes and death. As I shared previously the power of evil is the power of nonbeing. Where there was life and goodness, evil effects cruelty and death, like a terrorist indiscriminately mowing down innocent bystanders. After a forest fire, one might think that life in that area is no longer possible. But that’s not the case. The waste left behind – the remains of the life that was – actually becomes the basis and in some cases the nourishment of a lush panoply of new life. Out of the ashes, new life emerges. The destructive power of the fire has no chance of turning the landscape into a permanent, lifeless wasteland. Life always wins.
This phenomenon in nature is a metaphor of the power of God’s kingdom, and its effect on us. And God’s power and love is effective through faith and trust. As we receive the power and love of God’s influence on us through faith, we need not allow the negatives in life to leave us hopeless and without strength to carry on. Faith receives the victory of Jesus over sin and death through the Spirit now, not just in the future. Jesus has already been raised from the dead. He is, as Paul said, “a life-giving spirit” in our hearts now. That is, the kingdom of God has already come near in presence of Jesus Christ.
Through God’s word and promises, God’s grace is always available to us. And again, we know that because Jesus has already won the victory over sin and death for us. These is nothing left to do except to receive it by faith. And even that is a gift because none of us found God’s grace. God’s grace found us through the people and communities who have shared it with us.
And finally, let me say that this vision of the destruction of evil defines our world’s ultimate destiny. While it may seem as if chaos reigns and evil influences are in control, our faith is not in what we see but in what Jesus saw and did. Therefore, it is entirely unnecessary to allow fear and anxiety to take control of us. To do so gives the victory to evil. Let the Word of God define and shape your faith in the future. In so doing, we will be preserved in hope, and God’s future will give us life in the present.
Prayer, Gracious and loving Lord, you have already defeated the power of sin, evil and death, in our world and in our lives. Give us faith so that by your power and love, we may be healed and set free. Amen.