“He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Matthew 5:45
Nearly two weeks after the mass shooting in
, our nation is still reeling. We
are still in shock, still dumbfounded by the massacre, and still grasping for
answers. Why did this happen? Where was God, and why didn’t He stop it? And
what can we do? Las Vegas
Why did it happen? The answer to the first question lies in the first book of the Bible. Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world, free from crime, adultery, lust, fear, guilt and shame. Their world in the Garden of Eden was a literal paradise. And in Genesis 2, God gave Adam and Eve only one “Thou Shalt Not”: Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But one chapter later, they did just that. When that first sin entered the world, it brought a curse to this world. It took only one sin to make it a paradise no longer.
Sin ushered in all of the things that make this world miserable, from hurricanes to massacres to cancer. The tragedy in
because we live in a fallen, sin-cursed world. Adam and Eve’s sin started the process of turning God’s perfect
paradise into a moral sewer—but you and I would have done the same thing. God’s
word tells us in Romans 3:23 that every single one of us has sinned and has
fallen short of the glory of God. Suffering is one of the sad consequences of
life in this sin-cursed world. Las Vegas
But where was God, and why didn’t He stop it? The truth is, He was right there in
that night even though—honestly—one second before the first shot rang out, most
people on the Strip didn’t want Him there. God has given us the gift of free
choice. It’s a gift that allows us to love, but it’s also a gift that allows us
to hate. It’s a gift that allows us to save lives, but it’s also a gift that
allows us to take lives. And usually God allows us to suffer the consequences
of our choices. In this sin-cursed world, bad choices affect both the righteous
and the unrighteous. Accidents and tragedies happen to good and evil people
alike. Las Vegas
In this fallen, sin-cursed world we live in, bad things happen to all of us. And good things happen to all of us. Now, I do believe that the Bible teaches that, in general, more good things come our way if we follow Christ and obey His commands. But God doesn’t guarantee us iron-clad protection against the pain and tragedy that may come our way—just as He did not spare His own son the agony of the cross.
The truth is, we will drive ourselves crazy if we don’t move past the “why” questions. We’ll likely never know why certain tragedies happen. When we’re feeling powerless in the aftermath of such events, we need to ask ourselves: “Do you believe your God is big enough and strong enough and merciful enough to redeem the tragedy—and somehow work all things together for good—even the violent things, the heart-wrenching things, the most tragic things?” Then, as soon as humanly possible, we need to move on to the final question: What should we do next?
First, we need to focus not on WHY this tragic event happened, but instead on HOW God can be glorified in the aftermath. In the days following the shooting, we’ve seen instances of God working in people and through people to redeem this horrible tragedy. We’ve heard stories of heroism at ground zero of the massacre: men lying on top of women to shield them from the gunfire; off-duty police officers leading people to safety, then turning around and heading back into the fire zone to help others; hundreds of people standing in line for hours to donate blood; thousands of people gathering for a prayer service the following Wednesday night at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas—and 185,000 more people watching that service online.
Next, we need to remember that life is fragile. We have no time to waste. Therefore, we must repent and get right with God. I hope and pray that no one reading this dies because of gunshot wounds from a madman. But the hard truth of living in this fallen, sin-cursed world is that people die tragically every single day—because of cancer, because of drunk drivers, because of heart attacks, because of natural disasters, because of stray bullets. You and I are not guaranteed tomorrow, so it’s important to get right with God today. Believe in Him. Turn away from your sin. And start following Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Finally, we need to faithfully pray for the victims’ families, for our military and first responders, and for revival in
we’re flooded with emotions like disgust, anger, anxiety and fear, I believe
these emotions should help fuel our prayers. Romans 12:12 tells us, “Be joyful
in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” And that chapter concludes
with these words in verse 21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil
with good.” America
Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information,
visit www.fccvv.com and join us for worship Sundays at 10 a.m.