Like so many of you, my heart has been breaking as I have sat in my study and listened to the news come in about the shooting of teachers and children in Connecticut this morning. No words can express the difficulty of this situation and no one can really understand what those parents who lost their children and loved ones are really going through unless they themselves have been there. Even in that case, words just don’t seem to help.
An event like this taking place just a week or so before Christmas is so hard. This past week has been filled with mass gun violence on separate ends of our country. Earlier this week, a twenty-four year old man walked into a packed shopping mall in Oregon and killed two people and critically wounded a teenage girl. And now this event happens in Connecticut and the media and our country asks why? These two events don’t even take into account all of the other ones that have happened this year and most recently with an NFL player in Kansas City two weeks ago.
I happened to catch interviews on some of the cable news networks where the anchors were asking professionals this exact question…”Why did this happen?” The answers they had to offer were two fold. First, there was an obvious psychological or mental disorder on the part of those that do things like this. Second, we have too many guns on the street and guns are the reason why things like this happen. These were some of the most recent “answers” to be mentioned. As a pastor, I would like to offer another reason that the majority of the media seem to be missing, and in all reality, may not care to really take into account.
When these sorts of tragedies happen, it is much easier to blame guns or to excuse the person who does these things based on mental illness. It helps us to have some sort of vague reason behind why a person would do such a thing or in the case of guns, remove the guilt of the person all together by blaming guns. I think there are several factors that MUST be remembered and considered when things like this happen.
First, God is still in control. Nothing happens as a surprise to God. He knew this would happen and He is the one who will give grace and help to all those involved. Some will ask why would a loving God allow things like this to happen? In reality, God doesn’t promise to answer all of the “why” questions. He does promise see His children through circumstances like this.
Second, these sorts of events are ultimately the result of sin. Guns are not the issue and mental illness, though a real and significant problem, is not the root cause in making someone do such horrific things. I believe that the root cause is sin and even Satan. The further our society goes in removing God and the Bible from our schools and from our society in general, the worse things will continue to become. When there is no understanding of God, no focus on His moral principles, and no reality of judgment for sin, events like this will continue to happen. A mind void of God is a playground for the Devil! It is time for the United States and the World at large to understand this and return again to the Biblical and moral principles that were once the normal way of life.
Finally, man is mortal and death is a reality. Times like these serve as a reminder to all of us that no one lives forever. There are two responses that we should have. We need to hug our children and remind them just how much we love them. There are parents waking this morning who no longer have that luxury. We take life for granted and we all think life will just go on. No one ever expects a tragedy, whether an accident, a sudden death, or an event like what took place in Connecticut. In a strange way, living life within the shadow of death makes us appreciate the things God has given us even more. The other response we should have to death is to make sure that we are ready for it. No one knows when or how they will die, but the Bible tells us that we can be prepared for it and know where we will spend eternity once we die. The question is, are you ready and are you prepared?
Our prayers are with the family of all those involved in this terrible tragedy. May the grace of our loving God be evident in their lives both now and in the weeks ahead.