Week 51 Friday

Real Evil

Today’s scripture selection: Revelation 12-17

Key verses: Revelation 12:17

“Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went to make war with the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commands and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

Though the message is filled with symbolic images; it’s message is crystal clear: there is a war going on.

It is a war which is so great that all other earthly wars, horrible as they are, pale in comparison.

It’s the cosmic conflict between evil and good in the “realms” of the supernatural.

Now, I know that to many, that sounds more like a summer blockbuster movie than an accurate description of today’s world. Or it comes off as the ramblings of someone who has watched THE EXORCIST one too many times.

But I believe it to be 100% accurate.

Over the years I have pondered many different explanations for the persistent presence of terrible evil.  And I have tried to explain it away.

I have celebrated how beautiful life can be; the many good things about this world and those I’ve come to know here.  I have given thanks to God for many, many blessings – and I still do.

But long ago I gave up any ideas of the possibility of a “perfect” world – filled with love and justice – if we only come up with the right social; political; psychological; or religious solutions.

Evil can be so clear; so seemingly invisible; so relentless – even in a world that can be a beautiful place.

I have also had too many “close” encounters over the years with those whom I believe to be radically and seriously involved with very dark and dangerous influences.

And I have felt the presence of supernatural evil as well.

So – there you have it.  As “crazy” as it may sound to some – I believe in the dark reality of evil. I know it’s real.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is I also believe in the ultimate triumph of God over that evil. I could go on and on about that.

Suffice it to say – I believe in dragons.  I believe in the Dragon described in the book of Revelation.

But most of all – I believe in God.

And, though in terrible conflict, they are not on equal footing by a long shot.  In the end, the dragons lose.

Prayer: Almighty God, protect us from evil and lead us not into temptation; your will be done; your kingdom come.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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