This morning, a gunman murdered 20 children and 6 adults during a school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before taking his own life.
In the midst of a horrifying tragedy like this one, it’s easy to wonder how a good God could allow something so evil to take place.
Many Christians will pat you on the back and say something like, “I know it’s hard, but God is in control, and we have to trust what He is doing.”
I know many will disagree with me on this point, but I’m not writing this article to stir up controversy or to debate them. I’m writing it for those of you who are searching for answers.
CNN reported about a woman walking down the road, wailing, “Why?! Why?!”
I’m writing this article to her.
To the parents and families who lost children, loved ones, and friends in this disaster, I want to be clear: God didn’t do this, and I want to present the Biblical case that proves it.
The fact is, contrary to what many will say, God’s will is not always done. Scripture gives us some interesting insight into this fact. For one thing, God does not want anyone to perish in hell. (See 2 Peter 3:9) And yet, we know from elsewhere in Scripture that people do indeed perish there. (For example, Revelation 21:8.)
Of particular interest to me is Romans 12:2-3, which tells us that those whose minds are renewed “will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
First of all, why would we need to test and approve what God’s will is if His will is always done? And second of all, it’s interesting to note that God’s will is “good, pleasing, and perfect.” Most Christians are very comfortable with the idea that God’s will is good and perfect, but not all of us believe that His will is pleasing.
Scripture says it is.
Jesus was clear when He said, “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (See John 10:10.) When stealing, killing, and destroying are taking place, you can rest assured that Jesus is NOT behind it. Jesus said, “…the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” (See Luke 9:56, NKJV). And we know from Hebrews 1:3 that, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being…” In other words, everything that’s true of Jesus is also true of the Father. God does not have conflicting wills; He’s not schizophrenic — He has one will, and it is clearly revealed through the life of Jesus. (See John 5:19-20,30; 6:38,40; 7:16; 8:19,26,28-29,38; 14:9-11,31; and 17:6.)
Jesus never blessed storms. He never initiated disasters. He never caused death. On the contrary, “Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (See Acts 10:38, NLT.)
Jesus brings life while the devil brings death. Satan is called “the god of this age.” (See 2 Corinthians 4:4.) I suppose you could still say, “everything happens for a reason;” but sometimes the “reason” was that the devil was at work.
1 John 5:19 — We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. (NIV84)
A tragedy like today’s school shooting can only be attributed to the work of the devil.
But there’s good news: The reason Jesus came from heaven to earth was “to destroy the works of the devil!” (See 1 John 3:8). Everywhere He went as He walked this planet, that is exactly what He did! And before He left the earth, He passed on the mission to His followers, telling them, “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” (See John 20:21.)
Destroying the devil’s work is now the mission of every Christian alive. We, the Church, should take responsibility for the evil in this world — not in the sense that we feel guilty for it when it happens, but in the sense that we commit ourselves to eradicating it with the power of the Gospel. The more people we bring to salvation, the more people we are snatching from the grip of the devil. And the more people we snatch from the grip of the devil, the less likely evil events like today’s school shooting are to happen.
When it comes to the moments when the devil does manage to accomplish something, Scripture proves that Jesus will always come out on top. Either Jesus wins through His people ministering in power, or He wins through His own response to injustice. Jesus told His followers to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, and cast out demons.” (See Matthew 10:8.) Today, we are seeing the tide rise in the spiritual realm as more and more Christians are discovering what God has deposited in us by His Holy Spirit. More and more miracles are happening in the name of Jesus, and I believe it is only going to increase.
Will some Christian minister the resurrection power of Jesus to those children and teachers in the next few days? I don’t know, but it’s what I’m praying for. And yet we know that even if it doesn’t happen, God always overcompensates for injustice. For example, when Job’s family and belongings were stripped from him by Satan, God blessed him with double and granted him a long, full life to enjoy it. (See Job 42:10,12 and 16.) Proverbs 6:31 tells us that when a thief is caught stealing, he must repay seven times what was taken.
The devil NEVER wins. God is always victorious. Our Lord knows how to turn any situation around for the sake of His children. God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect.
Romans 8:28 — And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him… (NIV84)
Today’s events were tragic, and that’s an understatement. Most of us are dumbfounded at the actions of the shooter, and we can’t imagine how any human being could be so absent of compassion or decency. My heart goes out to the families who were impacted — especially as they’re sorting through the Christmas gifts they’ve already purchased and trying to process all this during the holiday season. There’s nothing easy about it.
Nevertheless, there is a loving God who sends His Holy Spirit to comfort those who mourn. And there is a growing family of Christians throughout the world who are spending their lives to demonstrate and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom, believing that events like today’s school shooting don’t have to happen ever again.
Isaiah 60:2-3 — Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, this Scripture is an invitation for you too. Let’s arise. Let’s shine. Let’s infiltrate the “thick darkness” with the goodness of God.
Jesus came to give life to the whole world.
We’re His representatives.
Let’s go out of our way to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom to every person alive so that tragedies like today’s school shooting never happen again.
I believe it’s possible.