Summary: We will all endure collateral damage in our lives. Will it draw us closer to God? Our sin made Jesus collateral damage.
Jesus Is The Answer To Our Collateral Damage
Imagine being at war for a moment. Your squad’s mission is to infiltrate a city and locate a building, because it is being used to manufacture weapons for the enemy. You locate the building and call in for an airstrike. You give the coordinates to the person in charge of launching the guided missile. The missile comes and completely destroys the building, but the damage goes much further.
The building is engulfed in flames which in turn burns down a hospital next door. You can hear the screams of the people trapped in the hospital and most of the patients who had come there for treatment died in the flames. Those in the hospital were not the target of the attack, but they are what we call “collateral damage.”’
We have seen collateral damage happen far too often in our own neighborhoods. One gang wants to teach another gang a lesson and goes on a shooting spree in broad daylight. Someone getting gas, or crossing the street, or sitting in a car, or looking out the window is hit and killed by one of the stray bullets. They were unintended targets, but like those in the hospital, they became collateral damage.
We see it on even a more personal level in our homes. Husbands and wives forget the vows they once made to each other because of a variety of circumstances and choose to divorce. It seems as though the divorce is a way to make things better.
But some of the children are not able to understand why this is all happening, especially when everyone is saying they love God. They can’t get beyond, “if we are all truly loving God, then why can’t we all get along.” The children become collateral damage from the explosion of the divorce.
Whenever there is a fight, whenever there is a battle, whenever there is a struggle taking place, or whenever sin is allowed to take over, there is going to be some collateral damage for somebody. How many of you have been collateral damage at times?
We make the mistake believing or equating that “God is good” means “God will keep all bad things from happening to me” or “if I make the right choices, I will be protected from all harm.” Unfortunately, that is not what the bible teaches. It certainly is not what Jesus teaches. Believe it not, we become collateral damage from the battle that rages in the heavenlies in the spiritual world.
The thing about being collateral damage, is that there is no answer to the question of “Why?” Sometimes you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But that doesn’t help your grieving family member, who is mourning your death. Can you imagine someone saying, your cousin would be with us here today if he hadn’t been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We like to think that God is obligated to give us a “why answer” to all of our questions, but again that’s not what the bible teaches. The Scriptures teach that God’s ways are not our ways and God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. God will even keep some things secret from us. Can we still believe God is good, even when it looks as though God is not good to us personally in our situation?
I want you to meet a lady I will call Verda, because the bible does not tell us her name. Rarely is Verda given credit for all the pain she suffered because her pain came from second hand collateral damage. She was a beautiful woman and very happily married. She and her husband were known throughout the community as being wealthy philanthropists. They gave money to where it was needed the most, and they helped far more people than most people could imagine.
She and her husband had ten children altogether. There were seven boys and three girls. It was a close knit family, and that closeness extended into the next generation.
The boys, who were now adults, took turns having a reunion type party once a year and they always invited their younger sisters to join them. Verda and her husband were quite wealthy with several successful businesses, but the day to day operations were left to the employees to run.
Then came that morning when Verda got up, and she just had a feeling there was going to be something different about that day. She couldn’t put her finger on it but she just had the feeling. She and her husband had something come up at the last minute, so they could not make it to the family gathering at James’ house who was their oldest son. But everybody else was going to be there, because James really knew how to throw a family party.