It was also a living, but painful, reminder of the words of the New Testament wisdom book record in James 4:14. “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
There have been other terrible events that have brought with them a greater death toll. But few things grip the mind, and disturb the soul, as does an intentional act of terror. Perhaps that is because it strips everyone down to their deepest fears of helplessness and proves that none are fully safe - no matter who they are or where they are. It brings the unique fear of being an innocent victim and unsuspecting target for instant evil.
Again, that awful reality saturated the American psyche on April 15th and dredged up memories and fears perhaps not thought about since 9/11. Yes, the shooting of 20 young children in Connecticut last year was too much to even fathom or accept. It was simply unthinkable and beyond any description. But when there is a public display of violence perpetrated against innocent people, and it is caught on camera, it strikes an additional cord of horror.
But with this cruel day now in the rear-view mirror, even while its stunning brutality is still in the headlights, what do we take from such a life-altering and troubling experience? And what are the unique biblical lessons can be learned or confirmed through it all? Here are just a few from a Christian perspective - the one that matters most!
First: there is great evil in the world and everyone is capable of even the most vile of sins. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Second: we are again reassured of the reality that anything can happen on any given day. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1)
Third: without the inner influence of the life of God, man often turns to a life of godlessness. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18)
Fourth: human sin results in eventual judgement and a Christ-less eternity in a literal hell. “It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched — where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:43-44)
Fifth: the forgiveness of sin, all sin for all men, is available through one source and one only. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” (1Timothy 2:4-6)
Sixth: the offer of God’s salvation is to be seriously addressed when an opportunity is there. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Seventh: those who are in God’s family, through faith, have great and real hope now and forever. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Eighth: do not allow the cares of life, or the evil in the world, to rob you of God’s gift of peace. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
The event in Boston will forever be remembered as one of the nations most unexpected and brutal crimes. It was a supreme example of the depths and results of human depravity. And it has left many Americans in shock, in fear, and having more questions than they do answers. But for those who are also citizens of Heaven, God’s Word provides the many vital answers. It reveals why such things are done, how to avoid doing them, and most importantly, what to do to prepare for them and be forgiven of them!
Click here to listen to “The Word and The World” broadcast on the Boston Marathon Attack.