0207: 3 Ways to Deal with Gun Tragedy

0207: Podcast on Mass Shootings, Suffering and God's Sovergnity

There have been 307 mass shootings in the US so far in 2017* Where is God in all of this? How can he allow this suffering? How should the faithful face these tragedies?   In this podcast, we address this issue head on!

In all of this remember that God walks with you in your Eden and in your Gethsemane, God walks with you in your exultation and in your affliction. 

FIRST Allow yourself to time grieve. Be with those who are grieving. Cry with them as Jesus said to love your neighbor’s and more radically he said to love your enemies.  Pray for those who are suffering and their families.  Ask God to bless them.

SECOND: God is in charge–not you!  Don’t blame or heap judgment on those who suffer.  He allowed this. But He did not cause evil.  God is fully in charge and these disasters do happen on his watch. Read the bible.  Who sent the plagues in Egypt? Who devastated the world with a great flood?  Who sent a massive storm into the sea when Johan disobeyed God. God is certainly sovereign over evil. There’s a sense in which it is proper even to say that evil is part of His eternal decree. He planned for it. It did not take Him by surprise. It is not an interruption of His eternal plan. He declared the end from the beginning, and He is still working all things for His good pleasure (Isaiah 46:9-10).

But God’s role with regard to evil is never as its author. He simply permits evil agents to work, then overrules evil for His own wise and holy ends. Ultimately He is able to make all things-including all the fruits of all the evil of all time-work together for a greater good (Romans 8:28). BUT what about the innocents? Remember Jesus was innocent.  He still died. This life is not all there is and the point of life is not our pleasure but our holiness.  Remember, Erin Lutzer said it best, the hand of Jesus is on the dial of the furnace of our lives. It does not get hotter or cooler than he allows it. It is his hand on it. Trust that pierced hand.

Remember that God walks with you in your Eden and in your Gethsemane Remember that God walks with you in your exultation and in your affliction

THIRD It would be nice to hear what Jesus would say about this. Well He did address it! In the Gospel of Luke it says that “There were some present at that very time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus response is to not make a judgment on those who died or on why God let it happen.  Jesus emphatically says that these people were NOT worse than others.  Rather he turns the question upside down and back toward the questioner. I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

THIRD  Yes, God allows these things to happen.  It is not for us to ask or granted the answer to why he allows.  It happens on his watch. J.R.R. Tolkien in The Fellowship of the Ring has Frodo say “I wish it need not have happened in my time,”. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Instead of blaming God when tragedies such as natural disasters strike, we need to turn to Him for strength and let tragedies, of whatever nature, remind us that this world was never intended to be a final home (Hebrews 11:13-16). Our time here is temporary (James 4:14), and with God’s help we are able to overcome whatever comes our way (Romans 8:35-39; Psalm 46:1-3).  To encourage you to listen to this

Psalm 46:

God Is Our Fortress

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth.[a] A Song.

  1. God is our refuge and strength,
        a very present[b] help in trouble.
    Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
        though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
    though its waters roar and foam,
        though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Music played in this podcast is from Matthew West, Into the Light

*But the actual number of killings depends on the source being cited and what “shooting” or  “shooting” means!