April 16 is not my favorite day of the year. This is the day that I remember the power of evil and sin to destroy lives.
And it’s the day that reminds me that in the journey of my life (and our lives) that evil doesn’t win.
And each of us, we know the power of evil. We see it in the world. We saw it on 9/11. We witnessed it yesterday in Boston, and many, many lives were forever changed and disrupted. We have seen the force and power of evil.
Evil has its moment. But evil doesn’t win.
That said, I don’t like April 16.
On April 16, 1978, my mother was murdered. I have always called her “Mama Sarah.” She was killed as she was walking out of our house, with me in her arms. She was walking out of the house because she did not want me raised in an abusive situation, in a situation full of drugs and destruction. She was walking out of the house because she wanted me to have a better life.
She was walking out of the house because she loved me.
And in that, she laid down her life for me. Literally. I sometimes tell folks I have the burden and blessing in my life of having had two people lay down their life for me, Jesus and Mama Sarah.
And, every day I wake up and know that I am here, I give thanks for no greater love. I give thanks that I, literally, should not be here.
And if you’ve ever wondered why I’m a little on the ADD side, this is why. I’m not going to waste a second that God has given me.
And every time I look at my daughter Sarah and mourn over the fact that she will never know the grandmother she was named for, I give thanks for no greater love.
I have experienced in my life the power of evil to bring destruction.
But I’ve also seen this. I’ve seen that evil doesn’t win. See, when Mama Sarah died, I was adopted by her mother and stepfather. I call them mama and daddy, because that’s who they are.
By the way, if you want to know the power of evil, consider this. Mama Sarah was murdered on her mother’s birthday, April 16. And she was buried on my birthday, April 18.
Evil has it’s moment. But it doesn’t win.
I was adopted and raised by my mama and daddy. And if I had not been raised by them, I wouldn’t have been raised in the church I was raised in. Which means that I may not be a Christian. Which means that I may not be a preacher. Which means that I may not be here, doing what I’m doing.
I may not be affecting your lives and your faith. If I hadn’t been raised by my adopted parents, I wouldn’t have gone to Bouge Chitto, which means I wouldn’t have gone to Co-Lin which means I wouldn’t have met Holly, which means I wouldn’t have my family.
God brought good out of this terrible tragedy.
Was my mother’s murder a good thing? No. Or course not. My heart aches for it. But, the power of God is not that he stops bad things from happening. It's that he can bring good our of anything.
Even the worst evil.
Evil doesn’t win. My life is a testament to that.
Romans 8:28 says this: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
All things will work for our good. And his glory. I am thankful. It may look bad. But know this. Evil doens’t win. Let us have that hope. And let us rejoice, even in our tears.
This post originally appeared on Andy Stoddard's blog. Andy is the pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Petal, MS.