The nation again has had its soul pierced with yet another massacre. This did not take place in on the battlefield of Afghanistan nor was it the result of a back-alley drug deal gone bad. It took place in an obscure town in Connecticut, where a gunman opened fire in an elementary school. Two questions always surface in the aftermath of such blatant evil.
“Why does this keep happening in the most sophisticated nation on earth?”
“Why does God allow such things to happen?”
The answer to the first question is easy. The answer to the second is not easy.
Why does this keep happening in the most sophisticated nation on earth? People do such evil deeds because the Scriptures tell us the “The heart is incurably wicked…..” (Jer.17:9). Simply put, it is impossible for man to police his own behavior. God has established human government to be a deterrent to evil, but it will never be perfectly effective in this task. When human beings in any society vote to have total moral freedom, that society will see an increase in violent behavior. There is a subtle irony in that unrestricted freedom eventually leads to bondage. True freedom is only found when we stay within the bounds of God’s moral will.
When a nation heads down this path of unrestricted freedom, it tends to turn a blind eye to the real issue. It will point to having more security or better-educated people or more legislation regarding gun control to the table. But if anyone brings up abortion, pornography, violence in movies, lyrics, and video games, or the absence of absolute truth (all of which contribute to devaluing human life) then prepare yourself for battle. These will be seen as a threat to one’s moral freedom.
To be sure, the church is in no position to point its self-righteous moral finger at the world. Perhaps the finger needs to be pointed more at the church than at society since we are called to be the salt and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). There is enough blame for everyone to have a sizable piece of the pie. Are we living a life that is void of hypocrisy?
So why does God allow such things to happen? This is a much bigger question and far more difficult to answer. In fact, the writers of Scripture often asked the same question. We know God is all-powerful and hates evil. Yet it is clear He allows it to have a foothold in every nation. God gives hints to an answer, but never fully reveals His feelings on this matter of lingering evil. Here are a few Scriptures to meditate on:
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever….” (Deut. 29:29)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 55:8)
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then, face to face…” (1Cor. 13:12)
I think perhaps the most revealing response is found in John’s gospel, where Jesus and Pilot are in dialogue. Jesus answers Pilot with these words “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I would not be delivered to the Jews…”
His point seems to be that as long as His Kingdom has not fully come, then by default, Satan’s kingdom reigns to the degree that God allows it. This does not answer all the questions surrounding the subject of evil, but in the end, we must trust Him to have reasons far beyond our present comprehension. And to be sure, our lack of understanding does not negate our duty or privilege to pray for those dear people who lost their children in this most recent tragedy.
~ Pastor Mike