The Face of Evil
But deliver us from evil… (Matthew 6:13).
Many who have worn the uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces feel that they have seen the face of evil. They talk about children being used as weapons; women being used as if property, and slaughter without remorse.
For many, the face of evil is too disturbing to talk about. They don’t want to even think about it. They wish they could forget what it looks like.
But forgetting is not easy when there are so many reminders of evil. One doesn’t need to be in a war zone to catch a glimpse of it. One doesn’t need to be outside of American shores to see the ravages of evil. One doesn’t even need to be outside of his own house.
Evil can be seen by looking in a mirror.
That’s something we do not want to face. It is, however, a reality that the holy God will not let us deny.
He had lost some weight. He was now retired. He proudly announced that he was walking seven miles a day and never felt better.
Except for a pain in his back that kept growing worse. Finally, he submitted to an MRI. Finally, he saw the reality: cancer, with only months to live.
An ugly evil had been living inside of him that chemo and radiation could not kill. Instead, it would kill him.
The face of evil takes many forms. It is in every reflection of what is not right with this world. It is an agent of sin. It is a killer.
When Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer he chose the words carefully. Of all the words that a person might speak to the holy God, these are some of the best. Included among them is the simple phrase, but deliver us from evil.
He doesn’t say This evil! Or That evil! Just plain all-encompassing evil.
Satan is included in that, with all of his works and all of his ways. So are all demons. So are all who take up his banner and carry out his work. It includes the evil in every nation foreign to us; in our own nation; and in our own selves. It involves all the consequences of sin.
We cannot negotiate with evil. We cannot ignore it. We cannot defeat it. The Mighty God has to step in. The Holy One needs to come with his powerful hand to slap evil aside and rescue us from the death grip.
We probably can think of times in our lives that we have seen this happen. But like a cancer, evil keeps reappearing, keeps threatening—until our God gets rid of it for once and for all. Until the time when it will never threaten us again. Until the day we cross into that land where evil is forever banished.
We wait for the day when evil will never show its face again.
Heavenly Father, just as you have said, trouble, sorrow and danger come into our lives as a result of evil that has entered into your creation. We see that it has already taken root in our hearts and minds. We know that it is deadly. But your Son has smashed the source of evil as a person crushes the head of a poisonous snake. Remind us of this. Point us to the cross and show us the empty tomb. Build up our faith in your power and love, and answer our prayer as we ask you again: Deliver us from evil! Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military