I have struggled with what to say since hearing about the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. I have literally felt numb. Heartbroken. Grasping at what to say, if anything, that wouldn't sound trite. I have wept as I've seen friends posting things on social media that seem to blame God. Why would He allow this? If He is good, why doesn't He stop it? Why do Christians just say they will "pray"? These are all fair questions.
Before I give my thoughts on this, I want you to know something very important. Just because we don't understand why God is allowing things, just because we don't think He's being fair....that doesn't mean we cannot know His heart. He reveals His heart throughout the Scriptures. I may not understand His hand, but I can always understand His heart. Once you really know God's heart, you don't blame Him. You go to Him and ask Him for understanding. That's what I have been doing these past three days.
Just like light, good exists. Darkness is the absence of light. Evil is the absence of good. God is Good, God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5) We have been pushing God away in America for years now. He allows us to choose to do this. And when we push the Light away, we are left with darkness. The choices we make as a result of our free will are delivering dire and sickening consequences. That's what evil does. Hear me clear: this is not His will for us. His will is that no one should perish. His will is that all of us would turn to Him. (2 Peter 3:9)
God is not allowing evil to exist for any other reason than the fact that His heart is for all of us to turn to Him. If He extracted evil (and He very well could), He would have to extract the lot of us. It's clear that we are all sinners and fall very short of God's standard of righteousness. (Romans 3:23)
Some evil is way harder to swallow than other evil in our eyes. In His eyes, evil is evil. Sin is sin. It separates us from Him and His heart grieves about that so much. He hates sin so much that He sent His Son to die for us, in our place, taking the payment for our sin, so our sin"would not be counted against us". (Romans 3:21-26, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20) When we recognize and admit that we have evil and sin in our hearts, go to God for forgiveness and receive this unimaginable gift of salvation, when God sees us, He sees us as righteous. Not because of what we have done, but because of what He has done for us. (Romans 10:9, see this article on GotQuestions.org)
If you hate evil, if you hate darkness, I want to let you know that you are loved and God is pursuing your heart. He hates it, too. The evil that happens in this world is a reflection of life without Him, and if you are tired of living that life - a new life is waiting for you. As a believer, I still suffer injustice, I still grieve, I still have to live in this world that pushes God away, but I don't have to look at every single thing as hopeless. Because I know God is good. God is Light - and in Him is no darkness at all. He helps me through the questions, He gives me peace that passes understanding and He helps me make sense of things that seem to make no sense. And when I can't seem to make sense of it, I know I can trust Him - because I know Him.
So yeah, we've had some horribly bad news recently; but I'm here to testify that there is also very, very Good News. And I believe, with all of my heart, that those precious souls who were taken on Sunday were met by Him instantly. They are now in His presence, free of this evil and complete in Him. Their suffering was not in vain.
I'm not trying to simplify this. I know it's complicated and extremely difficult. I don't have all the answers...but I know the One who knows everything and I know He is good. That gives me tremendous peace.
Pray, friends. Pray like you've never prayed before. I'm so weary of hearing people say that prayer is a cop out, because it's absolutely not. If you could see the battles raging in the spirit realm, you would know that our loved ones and friends who pray are fighting a tremendous battle. Join with them. And trust me, God hears. He sees, and He is faithful.
Evil will not have the final word.