Faith-Filled Friday: Triumphant Over Tragedy

With yet another senseless mass shooting in America, taking the total to 198, many of us are searching for hope. When will the madness stop? How will the families in Buffalo, NY, heal? Will justice be served? What will we do differently to hopefully avert the next potential tragedy? There are no easy answers, but we grasp for God’s promises of future, ultimate peace, which Jesus purchased on the cross at Calvary. May God help us heal as we await His coming. -Online Content Manager

Gotham City is covered in darkness, and there’s an eerie feeling in the streets. With violence out of control, it’s no longer safe, and fear has gripped the hearts of the citizens. The brightest days are covered with a gloomy cloud of wickedness. The songs of birds have been replaced with the sounds of sirens. The police force has been compromised and is corrupted. No one is smiling, no one is safe, and no one can be trusted.

Out of nowhere, a light pierces the darkness of night, and the symbol of a better day shines clear for all to see. It’s a symbol of triumph and a sign of deliverance. It drives fear into the heart of the criminal and assuages the mind of the believer and hopeful.

To the Rescue!

It’s a symbol that calls for the one Man who alone can rescue this hopeless society. Undetected, the Caped Crusader sweeps in and conquers the evil, reestablishing a system of peace.

In this century, comic book superheroes have captivated the world. With their superhuman power, ingenious gadgets, and audacious courage, they have stolen the hearts of Americans. Whether they are donning a cape made of steel or shooting web from their wrist, many have embraced this idea of a hero saving the day.

The Nemesis Cannot Win

Yet with every hero, there must be a villain. The hero swoops in as the villain preys upon the helpless bystanders, selfishly devouring them for his own pleasure and gain. He successfully conquers his nemesis against all odds and amid defeat.

Is it possible that our fascination with heroic characters is because we desperately need a hero in our own lives and that the screened actor somehow gives us hope that someone can rescue us too?

In all truthfulness, who doesn’t want to be rescued? Rescued from the stresses of life: our failing marriages and our dead-end jobs; saved from the bills we pay and the student loans we owe; rescued from cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. And even on a universal scale, rescued from the floods and hurricanes; rescued from the faltering economy and the housing crises; saved from the war overseas and the prevaricating politicians; rescued from life.

For the comic book, conflict is a snapshot that in this life, there is a battle between good and evil, light and darkness, a Hero and a villain. Every day we face tragedy, and we need to be rescued every day. Thus the screened superhero is just a glimpse of the longing in our souls. For “there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon” (Revelation 12:7).

Jesus Wins Every Time

Since the beginning of time, Jesus has battled against the devil and his kingdom of darkness. This age-old rivalry stems from when the devil, after his first victory of deceiving one-third of the angels, he stole God’s most prized possession—Adam and Eve. From there, he perfected the art of deception and went forward masterfully wreaking havoc on the innocent bystanders of earth.

This villain prided himself on his undefeated record. Only a few generations into earth’s history, he led the entire world, except Noah and his family, into blatant wickedness. This wickedness was so abhorrent that it “repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (Genesis 6:6).

Soon after, he aligned the entire world to build a tower in protest against God (Genesis 11). That was followed by twin cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, being led to openly practicing homosexuality (Genesis 18, 19).

This is not to mention the many times the villain successfully led the people of God into rebellion against Him. This villain stood unmatched, unchallenged, and unchecked, whether it was getting them to bow down to a golden calf (Exodus 32) or leading them into apostasy (2 Chronicles 36).

The Tables Are Turning

With all this confronting Him, our Hero was born. Birthed as a baby in Bethlehem, Jesus was predestined to bring an end to the tyrannical rule of this demonic dictator. It was to be the most incredible showdown in the universe’s history. Prophecy had positioned the coming Messiah to herald in a new day, guaranteeing that the serpent’s head would be crushed.
There were no weapons or armor, but there was a clash of theological ideals. The devil had led a successful campaign luring individuals into his ranks through the promise of financial gain, the guarantee of authority, and the satisfaction of lustful exploits.

Jesus, however, was the embodiment of love. He turned no one away. He gave no one the cold shoulder. Not once did He impart a look of burden or annoyance. “He spoke as one having authority . . . yet in all His intercourse with rude and violent men He did not use one unkind or discourteous expression” (The Desire of Ages, p. 515).

These two forces battled intently for nearly three years, but it all came to a head that night in the garden. Satan had strategically plotted to bring the Savior’s mission to an end. Convincing the people of His treachery and blasphemy, in the middle of that night, Jesus was arrested.

Wasting no time, Satan brought Christ to the cross. By manipulating the influence of the rulers, his purpose was accomplished. The masses were unaware of whose control they were under. Eagerly they cosigned His death, and on that Friday afternoon, the Savior was crucified.

Jerusalem was now covered in darkness and there was an eerie feeling in the streets. A gloomy cloud of wickedness hung over the cross. Fear gripped the disciples’ hearts as the tragedy of their Savior’s death became a reality.

Devastated and depressed, the disciples were uncertain about what the next day would bring. They had placed all their hope in Christ. Through time spent ministering with Him, they had fallen in love with Him. They had invested so much into His mission and cause. Yet it appeared that all their time and energy was in vain.

With the death of Jesus, Satan proved himself to be a formidable opponent. This villain now looked to wield total control of the earth. He would, by force, wreak havoc upon its inhabitants. Destroying families and ruining lives, he believed his power would go unchecked.

Yet early Sunday morning, Satan’s tyrannical rule was brought to an end. He believed that brute force and strength could overcome the Messiah. He thought that by overpowering Him physically, he could destroy Him spiritually.

Yet he failed to realize that though our Hero was brave enough to die, He was God enough to live again. As man, He was frail, but as God, He was unstoppable.

Triumph, at Last

When Jesus rose from the tomb that Sunday morning, a light pierced the darkness, and the Symbol of a better day shone clear for all to see. It was a Symbol of triumph and a Symbol of deliverance. It was a Symbol that a better day had come and that our Super Hero would always triumph over tragedy. It drove fear into the hearts of the criminal and assuaged the mind of the believer and hopeful.

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