The assassination of Benazir Bhutto hit me harder than I would have expected. One thing was that I happened to look at Yahoo! news just as it happened, so I watched the story develop. That’s an impact of the “web” side of theÂ internet to get caught up in the stort as its immediacy makes it more dramatic. In the “old days” I wouldn’t have heard until the 5:00 news. Now things are posted for the world to see instantly.
The drama of theÂ shots, explosions, mangled bodies, crying men, people trying to get control of the scene are gripping. One of the best portrayals is the photo essay by John Moore. You can see it here. It makes the destructive impact the event, the contrast of theÂ beauty of Bhutto and the ugliness of the murder,Â so real.
But a bottom line isÂ the power ofÂ something small and evil to destroy.Â Â Without making commentary on the merits of Bhutto’s politics, her return was the result of years of preparation and a large investment of work with the idea of moving Pakistan to a more stable, more democratic nation. A few cunning people were able to destroy all that work in a brief work of violence.Â Their act moved the whole nation to chaos, something that serves only the interests of evil.
I work with people who have been impacted by evil. Most of what I see are products of sustained evil such as cult abuse, spiritual abuse, sustained sin within a family system and such. But I also see the outcome of such acts as the Bhutto assassination where one act destroys years of construction. AÂ visit to a gullible counselor confirms the fears of a spouse and trust in a marriage is blown out. A moment of inattention leads to a crashed automobile and terrible injuries.Â Words spoken in anger elicit an angry response and a pastor’s ministry is destroyed, a growing church shaken. The examples multiply in this broken world. It’s hard to maintain hope and courage to keep building when the force of chaos ruins years of work in a moment.
But I alsoÂ get to see the power of life, the soft warm reality of light that overcomes darkness. In the phrasing of the King James, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). Occasionally the miracle happens and the change is dramatic. More often it’s quiet, persistence that makes the difference. And there’s a lot of energy required behind the grace. It exhaused Jesus.
Which is moreÂ “news worthy” –Â the slow patient crafting of a beautiful vase or the hammer blow that shatters it? TheÂ extended investment of courtship leading to engagement, marriage and family, or theÂ screaming fury of torture. As for me, I want to have the wise eyes to delight in the process, the courage to add my effort to the building, the courage of Job who after everything was pointlessly destroyed in chapters 1 and 2, went on living in chapter 42.