As one of the millions who were glued to their TV sets that Sunday evening, I watched in disbelief: "Confirmed: Osama Bin Laden killed."
The headline wasn't nearly as shocking as the live reaction cameras captured in places like Washington, D.C., New York City and across college campuses. People were dancing in the streets - celebrating, hugging, chanting "U-S-A" and singing "God Bless America." All of this because of one life that was taken.
As I watched in stunned silence, I wondered if I was the only one to feel torn. Was I the only one who felt disgust as I read status updates that rejoiced in the death of a man they had never met or known? Was I the only one left wondering how God felt about this celebratory reaction to the loss of another human's life?
Weeks later, I was still confused as to how God was calling me to react.
A small part of me wondered if justice was really served that Sunday. But deep down inside I still felt like there was little worth celebrating.
Something in my mind said, "This is such a tiny victory in the course of eternity." Something prevented me from finding joy in the loss of one man's life, even if he was responsible for thousands lost. But, why?
It took me a while to find the answer my own question.
Evil was not defeated that Sunday night. While the leader of a terrorist organization has been removed, the reality of darkness and injustice in our own homes and neighborhoods continues. And while we know that the power of sin and death was defeated the day the tomb was found empty, we still battle with the darkness in each of us.
World hunger still claims more than 25,000 lives every day. Loved ones still remain addicted to drugs and substances to which they are enslaved.
Young girls are still being trafficked (yes, even here in Phoenix). That girl at your school will keep finding herself in abusive relationships because she doesn't know her father. Many still continue to search for self worth and meaning after divorce.
And thousands of lives were not brought back from that September morning that still burns fresh in our minds.
As a believer, I don't rejoice in the death of my enemies (Matthew 5:44). Instead, I choose to celebrate those who have found light, truth and hope. I find joy when the lost turn away from sin. I find fulfillment in seeing those who have been living only for themselves discover purpose and meaning (Ezekiel 33:10-11).
So for now, I will continue to pray for the day where thousands are dancing, chanting and celebrating headlines such as: "Terrorist turns from wickedness and finds truth," "1 billion lives saved through clean water projects," "Millions find hope through those who stand against injustice."
• Colin Noonan is a graduate of Grand Canyon University and director of youth ministries at Mountain View Lutheran Church in Ahwatukee Foothills.