The shooting in Parkland, Florida has caused debates from gun control, to drug control, to having armed guards at every door of our schools. It is crazy. Then there is the obligatory comment, “Where was God in all of this? Didn’t He care?” This happens every time there is a tragedy but by next week we will be happily on our way not remembering our questions or the violent discussions between people of different opinions.
While things are still fresh on our minds, may I offer my 2 cents…it won’t buy anything other than a thought or two to consider.
1. God, Yahweh, is deeply distressed over this incident. It has hurt the very people He created and came to save. He is grieved because of the tears of mothers and fathers, wives and children. Throughout the Bible His character reveals that this is not what He wanted for the very people he formed with His own hands and breathed His very breath. His plan was perfect. His plan was freedom. This was not His plan.
2. God gave instructions to His people as to how to live. Through Abraham, He formed a people to be loved and protected. He used Moses to free them from tyranny and since they did not know how to live in freedom, He gave His law along with the instructions: Follow these and all will go well! (Grace paraphrase) These same instructions were told to Joshua, and to the prophets and the leaders of God’s people. “If you follow my commandments, things will go well for you.” Was God merely a bossy guy who wanted His own way? Absolutely, not. He is All-Knowing, All-seeing and All-powerful. He knew the dangers of living in a fallen world and gave us boundaries to keep us safe.
3. Just as Adam and Eve wanted to go beyond God’s boundaries, we have done the same thing. We also fall for the question: “Did God really say?” at every turn.
4. You might be saying, “Yeah, but that is the Old Testament, and we live in the New Testament. It doesn’t apply to us? Doesn’t it? Jesus clearly stated that He fulfilled the law and the prophets. He further said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” John 14:23 Our nation, and many other nations, have turned completely away from the commands God gave to us as boundary lines. Every reminder that was posted throughout our country of the 10 Commandments has been taken down in our public arena. We call it separation of church and state but really it is a separation of God and His protection.
5. The New Testament church was the first to see the deadly results of secular thought. Any mention of God and His laws was met with death. Today, the ruler of the world, satan, has so clouded our nation’s vision, we are wandering around in chaos and darkness. It seems darkness has won.
6. It is time the church quit saying, “for God and Country.” We have made them equal…or perhaps even have lifted country higher. We hear more about political views than we do biblical views. We become passionate about a candidate but yawn at the mention of an Almighty God. A look at our nation, would indicate that God has turned its eyes from it. It is time the church quit taking political sides and stood on the side of the one who is Faithful and True.
7. It is time for the church to stand more firmly than ever before…and I am not talking about boycotting and reacting to the abuse we are given. The early church were people who stood for the truth of God even when they were faced with beheadings and other gruesome deaths. It is time we begin to lift Christ high no matter the consequences and get off the bandwagons of secular remedies to our problems. It is time for the church to begin to believe that God is all powerful again. Do we trust Him?
8. Perhaps we, the church, are to blame in this situation because somewhere along the way the church stopped being the light…we hid our light under a basket and instead focused on our own preferences of worship, buildings, and programs. Perhaps instead of being salt, we preferred to not offend and let our witness become paving materials for the world to run over. Perhaps…
9. The church needs to quit thinking comfort equals being aligned with God. Jesus warned His disciples: “The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy; I have come that they have life and life abundant.” John 10:10. This thief is on attack and Christians are not immune. The life He was talking about is eternal life…life the way God meant it to be when He created us. After explaining all that was going to happen to Him, Jesus spoke these words to His disciples: John 14: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
10. This situation in Parkland Florida, has grieved the heart of our Father but He gives a pathway to peace. That way is IN JESUS. Not in church buildings or programs. When did we quit telling people that? When did we quit telling our youth in our churches that the only way to peace is through Jesus not through social media or self-esteem? When did we quit telling the world about this peace when our IRAs and Social Security fails us? When did we quit believing that peace comes from Him? These are questions we must answer because of all people on the world, those of us who know Him personally and relationally, have let those kids at Parkland down. We know what we should do…we have a small window of opportunity. Will we do it?