The question is being asked more than usual why God allows tragedies like the Florida school shooting to occur. It’s an excellent question with a complicated answer. Anne Graham Lotz said it’s because we have taken God out of our schools and He is gentleman enough to follow our wishes. That is true, but it’s only a partial answer.
We’ve not only removed God from our schools, we are systematically removing Him from our society. Schools, colleges and some preachers are teaching that there are no absolute values, that everything is relative and we should just do what we think is good for us at the moment. That is not always good for others. The US Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits prayer and religion in schools when all the amendment prohibits is a government-established religion. The result is an increasingly secularized society in which people reign supreme. We have made gods out of ourselves, not paying attention to the Bible’s historical warnings about doing just that.
The Bible chronicles (pun intended) time after time when people turned their backs on their Creator because they thought they could live better doing what they wanted rather than doing what God told them to do. They suffered the consequences. Some consequences were self-imposed due to their behavior and some were God-imposed chastisement directed toward bringing His people back to Him. Adam and Eve’s rebellion was the first case. The Israeli’s rebellion while Moses was still on the mountain getting the Ten Commandments from God is another example among dozens. In each case the people suffered hardships until they again submitted to God’s will for them as a people. In some extreme cases, like Sodom and Gomorrah, entire civilizations were destroyed ( Genesis 18:16 – 19:38 ).
Another example is the apostasy in the United States today. God’s chosen people, of course, is the Jews. People that belong to God include Christians. New Testament believers who were first called Christians at Antioch when Stephen and Barnabas were preaching to the Greeks for about a year, making gentile conversions to Christ (Acts 11:26). Jesus Himself said that those who do God’s will are His brother, sister and mother (Matthew 12:49-50). The base word for Christian in English is Christ, and the definition for Christian in biblical Greek is “those belonging to the Christ”. So Christians are God’s people but not His originally chosen people.
This nation was founded by Christians on Christian principles even though the different denominations differed on doctrine. They were as hard on one another as the churches in Europe were on them. That’s another topic. Our Pledge of Allegiance said “One nation, under God” and our money says “In God we trust”. However, we as a nation are getting farther and farther away from God. Only 36 percent of US adults are “practicing” Christians, and evangelicals, those who are born again, take their faith seriously, and believe they have an obligation to evangelize, constitute only six percent of the population. The result is the secularization of our society as described above.
Civilization goes off course when we think our way is better than God’s way. The FBI and the sheriff’s office failed to follow up on leads pointing to the Florida shooter before the massacre. The armed and trained school resource officer chose to stay safely outside the school while 17 students were murdered by a mentally-disturbed former student. Authorities in Colorado did not recognize the threat posed by the two students who perpetrated the Columbine High School shooting although they had been experimenting with bombs for a year prior to the tragedy. The both had been taken off their mood-altering drugs three days before the shooting. Fortunately, the bombs they planted in the school failed to detonate.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for US children ages 10 to 24. About 3,500 children ages 9 to 12 attempt suicide every year. Approximately 4,000 child suicides are caused by bullying, either at school or over the Internet. Eighty percent of children that attempt or commit suicide give clear warning of their intentions before the act. Thirteen percent of our children are murdered.
Satan is taking advantage of our apostasy. He isn’t telling us to turn our backs on God, he just suggests that we should worship ourselves. And, with self-worship comes the belief that we deserve material items. God is pushed out of the mind somewhere along the way. Satan also tells us we are all God’s children so He will take care of us. Like everything else he tells us that is an obvious lie. Tragedies still happen, both personal and corporate. Satan tells us that our trials are God’s fault, not ours.
Mrs. Lotz is right in that God isn’t intervening in most of our trials because we haven’t asked for His help. The main reason He hasn’t helped, however, is because 64 percent of the population isn’t His people. Therefore, He has no obligation to help them. His people are those who truly follow His guidance in their lives and have truly accepted Jesus as their Savior (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-10). Excluded are the people who claim Christ as Savior but evidence no real works of God. To those people Jesus says go away, I never knew you ( Matthew 7:23).
God’s will for us is that all people will come to Him. He has provided a way for individuals to be saved through Jesus paying the penalty for their sins be taking their place on the cross (John 3:16). Jesus started His ministry by telling Peter and Andrew “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”. He ended His ministry be giving His disciples the Great Commission to go and make disciples in all the world (Matthew 28: 19-20). The primary purpose of Jesus coming to earth is to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:31-32).
The way to stop the violence and other atrocities is obvious: We need mass repentance and revival in this country. If Christians diligently work at making other disciples and all who are called by His name “will humble themselves, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear them from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). That is the only way the violence and other crime will stop,