After a tragedy as horrific as the Parkland shooting, many among us wonder, “Where is our God?” A great friend of mine, a/k/a (“Curmudgeon”), posed just such a question in one of his morning emails. With his permission, I share it with you, as well as my reply:
I have been thinking a lot recently about the religious implications of the recent Parkland shooting. This in part was stimulated by watching a recent spot on TV showing Billy Graham looking heavenward, and saying with all the emotion he could muster over and over, “Jesus loves you… Jesus loves you.” I thought to myself, “How could this be? How could He allow those innocent children at Parkland and Sandy Hook to be slaughtered if he ‘loved’ them?”
Christians will always retort, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
Well, that sure is a mysterious way in my book. If God wanted those children to be with him in heaven, then why not simply ascend them into heaven as was done with Jesus, so sayeth the Bible?
Anyway, I do not put these things forth as a challenge to you or your religious faith or beliefs. I thought to myself that this subject might provide a backdrop for one of your blog posts? I am sure that I am not the only one who has had these thoughts cross their minds. To me these horrible events simply do not mesh with the miracles recited in the Old and New Testaments.
My reply—with some editing for clarity—was this:
When horrible things like this happen, I always remind myself that however horrible they are, they are, after all, the acts of men. Man has turned his back on God, and yet, always wonders where God is in moments like those of the Parkland shooting. The Bible is replete with stories of man turning away from God—bad things happening—and then man turning back toward God. As one who has spent the majority of his life making his living by interpreting both the letter of and the spirit of the law (you), I say it’s time to look to both the letter of and the spirit of God’s law. Were not the Ten Commandments, the original basis of all our laws? Our major universities have done a magnificent job of removing the fundamental pillars of the legal foundation of this country.
Just look how far from the teachings of the Bible we have strayed: Look how few people go to church; how many divorced parents there are; how many broken families we have. What about the births out of wedlock? How about our refusal to properly restrain our mentally ill? Look how cheap a value we place on the unborn. They are disposed of like scraps of meat, their organs sold for parts in an open market. All this is condoned by the majority of society, because it actively condones it, or it condones it by its silence. So when you say, “How could God let this happen?” (Paraphrasing.) The first thing I say is “How could man let this happen?” How can we let this happen? And yet we let it. I can’t really write about this in my blog, because some of these ideas are not mine. They belong to a young man who was a summer intern at Sharon United Methodist church. He preached them to us in a sermon. At least, that is the way that I remember it. (On second thought, maybe I’ll just give him credit.) Thank you Spencer, wherever you are.
Look at what we have just learned about the sheriff’s department in Broward County. As it stands now, it looks like up to four deputies stood by and did nothing in the crucial moments during the shooting when they could have intervened, taken out the shooter, and ended the bloodbath.
I can’t give up my faith. I’ll never give it up. I live by it, and faith in Jesus Christ has served me well. Jesus is mine, because I claim him, and I am surrounded by his love. The first question I ask myself before any action is “Am I living more in accordance with the Lord’s Commandments?” Just think how different society would be if more people embraced His teachings. Even if one were to prove that God did not exist, and Jesus were a fantasy, how different would the world be if everyone’s first act was to love his God with all his heart, mind and soul and to love his neighbor as himself.
Have a blessed day,
(Photo credit-top of page-Church: Betty Shelton/Shutterstock)