HEALING FOR CHARLESTON
By Carolyn Dale Newell
For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
But of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Tim. 1:7 (NKJV)
Americans are devastated by the news of the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina. Wednesday evening, Dylann Roof entered the African American church, sitting with the people for an hour. Surely, they expressed love to him, but he pulled out a gun and began to shoot. Nine people were killed, and there were three survivors. This was an act of terrorism from the enemy himself, Satan.
Our focus doesn’t need to be on the killer’s motives. It certainly doesn’t need to be on racism or gun control. The focus of the church, the bride of Christ, needs to be on healing. Healing for Charleston and beyond the city limits to the heart of every Christian. We must pray for comfort from the God of all comfort. We must seek the peace that surpasses all understanding.
God is still sovereign. This did not surprise Him. Christians in foreign countries have faced persecution, and now the church in the United States can no longer deny its presence.
Persecution is no stranger to the church. The early church, especially the apostles, faced persecution with boldness, and that is what we must do. Yes, the church in the book of Acts met behind locked doors, not because of fear, but because of wisdom. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. Satan takes care of that. God gives us a sound mind to make wise decisions.
The enemy, Satan, comes “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). Nine Christians were murdered during a time of Bible study and prayer. These martyrs are now in heaven receiving their crowns. Satan has destroyed the lives of their families and the 3 survivors who must live with the trauma of this tragedy, but we cannot allow Satan to steal love and peace from the church.
How many people will not share the gospel today because of fear? How many visitors will not receive love on Sunday morning because of suspicion? Even worse, will any strangers be turned away from a church because of Satan’s reign of fear?
If we fail to boldly proclaim the gospel, and if we fail to love, we are giving in to Satan’s terrorism. The church will cease to be what God called us to be.
As we move forward, we must pray for boldness. We need the courage of Paul who was not afraid to go to Jerusalem where chains awaited him. He was not afraid to go to Rome where he was beheaded. He wrote from a Roman prison, “In nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20b).
Pray, church, now more than ever! Pray for healing in Emanuel AME Church. Pray for healing for the families. Pray for Christians everywhere that in spite of the horror of this event, we will love like never before. We will not be silenced by Satan. We will not allow him to sow seeds of discord. Hatred is of Satan, but love is of God. Now, go share the love of Jesus today!
Copyright 2015 Carolyn Dale Newell.