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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

And what of the devil in Lancaster?

I have tried to avoid dwelling on the school shootings that have hit the nation this past week but alarmingly the most recent tragedy occur ed in my hometown of Lancaster County, less than a half hour from where I grew up.
Although I now live two hours away, my family is there and my roots run deep. I now reside in New Jersey, but a short conversation confirms my accent as PA Dutch. I do not know any of the victims or the gunmans family. I was never close with any Amish, however, I have worked with them, ate with them and most recently hosted them in my house when I ran a B&B. I admire their beliefs and their way off life and I could devote an entire post to gushing about them. But that is for another time. Suffice it to say, I will be happy when this media frenzy is over for the Amish sake so they can go about their lives (and mourning) in peace. I also hope you will offer up many prayers, as I have, for the injured and deceased involved in this case.
What I want to address is the question often asked when these horrible atrocities occur; Where is God? I do not doubt the existence of God, and I know, as the Amish families do, that only God can help them through this terrible time in their lives. What I want to know is, how can someone watch a story like this unfold on the news and still question the existence of Satan. Even some Catholics still doubt that Lucifer, as an individual being, exists. I think the fact that a man can molest children, hold onto a grudge for 20 years, murder children and commit suicide is proof that Satan is busier today than ever. A great priest I know said to me, Lucifer means 'bearer of light' and he leads man to sin by placing temptation in the best light possible. People don't usually go out seeking to do evil, making that bad decision just looked so good at the time compared to everything else. The man who opened fire on a room of bound children held unto anger for 20 years because it was easier than forgiving. It consumed him and when he lost a child it became hate because that was easier than accepting God's will. His hate built up for 10 years. He was ripe for temptation. Taking children hostage, doing unspeakable things to them and then ending it all looked better than living life another day as it was. Something pushed him over the edge and when he saw the news footage from Colorado last week, he got an idea and it seemed like the best thing to do. God exists and he was with the gunman his entire life, but so was Lucifer and it was to the devil on his shoulder that the gunman turned when he had a problem, not God. When you have lost all hope, I can only image how easy it is to sit in the darkness with Lucifer offering you a candle to find your way out, stumbling and falling as you go. But the light of Jesus is the Sun that drives all darkness away; all is made clear. So don't say to me the devil does not exist. I saw him yesterday on the news in my hometown. I do not ask 'Where is God?' when men give in to temptation because He is there lamenting their decision. I see God clearly in the outreach of neighbors, the prayers of a community and at the hospital beside of each child. Who feels their suffering more than He?