When tragedy strikes like it did this past weekend here in Texas, even I find myself falling prey to the knee-jerk reaction of, “Father God, why? Where were you? And in a church? Where they should have been safer than ever?”
We have to be careful in those moments. We have to be careful to not let the ugliness of the world color the way we see our perfect Father.
First and foremost, we as Christ-followers have to remember that the Bible promises in black and white that we will face persecution for our faith. Not because He doesn’t love us. Not because His protection isn’t big enough for us. But because we live in a terribly fallen world where many choose to wield His gift of free will for evil. Some believers may only face bullying; Others may face the ultimate sacrifice of death. None of it is okay. None of it should happen. But none of it was part of His original design for our world either. We have to remember that. And we have to remember to make the intentional choice to run to Him, not away from Him.
Secondly, when taking to the internet, I’d be lying if I said I was shocked to see my question reverberating throughout the online community. What I did find shocking, however, was the insensitivity not only within our society, but among some of those whom I actively follow – Some who claim to be of faith, some not, but all whom I greatly admire – Who within hours of the news break seemed to jump on a worldwide rally wagon to fiercely let everyone know, “Prayer just isn’t enough.”
How do you even respond to that?
I’ll give you a hint… It’s not to tighten the reins on gun control.
Before you dismiss me with an eye roll and a click of the “x” in the top right of your screen, hear me out. It’s not because I’m from the south. It’s not because I’m secretly packing. It’s not even necessarily because I care about guns – To be honest, I’ve had a very love/hate relationship with them ever since I was a little girl and a self defense shooting landed my father in prison. But because the argument for another Band Aid solution instead of killing the root infection doesn’t make sense.
After the World Trade Center bombing, we got the Oklahoma City bombing.
After the Oklahoma City bombing, we got 9/11.
After 9/11, we got the Madrid bombing.
After the Madrid bombing, we got the London bombing.
After the London bombing, we got the Brussels bombing.
After the Brussels bombing, a car in London plowed into a crowd.
After London, a car in Charlottesville plowed into a crowd.
After Charlottesville, a car in London (again) plowed into a crowd.
I understand that there are slight differences in the comparisons. But it doesn’t change the two main points that I’m trying to make:
A) The tool used isn’t the enemy.
B) If evil wants to find a way to kill, it will.
And if we continue to ignore these truths, it will continue to succeed.
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
– II Chronicles 7:14 –
Matt Walsh stated it perfectly in his blog addressing prayer being mocked after tragedies: “The chaos in our culture is certainly not evidence of the futility of prayer. It is evidence of the futility of avoiding prayer.”
In situations like these, we have to be brutally honest with ourselves: When was the last time we commented, “I’ll be praying for you!” on a heartbroken friend’s Facebook post and then never thought of it again?
To dig even deeper… When was the last time, if ever, that we prayed?
And a little deeper still… To the God who can actually do something about it?
Because if we fall into any of these categories, we have zero leg to stand on in saying that it doesn’t work.
I’ve admittedly been on both sides of the fence. And I can say with all sincerity that when I hit my knees and cry out to Father God in those gut-wrenching prayers of humility and desperation, miracles happen. Not because I’m special, but because that’s what He calls us to do over and over in Scripture. And in the cases where I may not necessarily get “my way”, He is always gracious to show me, in the end, how the deepest cries of my heart were answered, even if it didn’t look exactly like I thought it would or should.
This post is not pro-guns. It’s not pro-turning a blind eye to what’s going on. It’s pro-Savior. Pro-doing something that will actually change things. And friends, we are not going to get that from the simple act of creating another law for those who ignore the law to break. Because guns don’t kill people. Knives don’t kill people. Cars don’t kill people. Evil, malicious intent kills people. And as long as we keep fighting the wrong enemy, it will continue to until our world is entirely unsalvageable.
So while our culture is screaming right now that the most idiotic, futile, pointless thing that we as a society could possibly do is pray… Pray anyway. Introspective until it hurts, knees down, face to the floor, grieving, “Father, forgive us… Fix us… Help us…”
And then, by all means, stand up and do something: Whatever He tells you to.
In this particular situation, I can only imagine that the starting line would be to actively work toward repairing the stigma surrounding mental health and contributing to properly healing it, however we can. And for the rest of our days, choose to love deeper. Shine brighter. And fight harder to affect the small or large piece of the world where we are in a way that heals us as individuals, not apathetically attempts to blanket cure or leaves it up to someone else.
In the end, it’s not what they do. It’s what we do. And we can change the world.