While many ask, “Where was God last Friday?” The answer is that He was right there.
Jamie and I have shared the shock and sadness with you over the terrible events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012, where twenty children and six adults were brutally massacred. Our hearts go out to those who have lost their precious children. We can only imagine what they are going through. But I know that the Lord loves them even more than we do, and I’m confident He is moving to comfort their hearts. We mix our prayers with yours that although the Lord didn’t do this, He will bring good out of it.
Such evil is hard to understand and shakes our sense of security. We want to understand how this could happen so we can fix it and move on with our lives without fear.
In the coming days, all kinds of causes for this senseless act will be put forth with corresponding solutions. Much of the talk will center around how we protect ourselves and those we love from tragedy like this. While it’s prudent to adjust to the reality of the world we live in, I don’t think any of us want to surrender our freedoms and live in a rigid police state. And I don’t believe we have to.
As the governor of Connecticut said Friday, “Evil visited us today.” This wasn’t just natural. This was pure evil. It was demonic. Certainly, government is an impediment to evil, and there are things that need to be done. But the only way to truly beat evil is to change the hearts of people with the power of God’s love. God’s kind of love works no ill to his neighbor (Rom. 13:10), therefore the antidote is to inject people’s hearts with God’s love.
I know that many, or even most people, will reject what I’ve just said and say it is impractical. But in reality, this is the only solution that is practical. We can’t build fortresses strong enough to keep evil out. This is not just a physical battle (Eph. 6:12); this is a spiritual war.
And this reveals why there is an increase of these terrible acts. Our society has systematically rejected God by rejecting His standards of morality. Although morality hasn’t been banned in America, immorality has been legalized and promoted. Its prevalence has weakened and in some cases eliminated the fear of God from public life. Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil…” It’s now “politically incorrect” to hate evil in this country. This moral vacuum allows and encourages demonic activity.
And make no mistake, this kind of act can’t happen without demonic involvement. No human being would kill an innocent child without being controlled by evil. The devil and his demons are real. Anyone who believes the New Testament would have to admit that. This is a spiritual battle, and our best weapons are spiritual weapons (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
The ultimate weapon against evil is the power of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). This most recent incident is a reflection of the church’s failure to influence our culture as we should.
But as bad as all this is, it could have been worse. While many ask, “Where was God last Friday?” The answer is that He was right there. He was in teachers who made the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of the children entrusted to them. He was in a janitor who ran down the halls giving warning and saving lives. He was in the first responders who entered the school cutting short what the shooter wanted to do. He had hundreds of rounds of ammunition left and obviously planned to do much more than he did.
God was in all these people who resisted and ultimately stopped this rampage. The Lord didn’t cause this to happen or allow it to happen. He gave us a free will, and He doesn’t control us like pawns in a chess game. This shooter gave himself over to evil. Others resisted the devil in him and eventually stopped him. It could have been much worse.
It’s easy to see the evil that has already happened, but we will never know until we are in eternity just how much evil was thwarted by all the godly influences. John 10:10 says the thief ONLY comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He’s after nothing else. There isn’t any good in the devil. If he was unchecked, we’d all be dead.
But there is much good all around us. I can show you hundreds of people scattered all over the world who are giving their lives to confront evil every day. I heard Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott who was murdered in the Columbine School shootings in 1999, talk about how he and those associated with him have spoken to over three million students since that terrible tragedy. They know of three school shootings that have been thwarted and over 500 suicides that have been prevented through their efforts.
I have friends who have left the comfort of America to travel to impoverished nations where they are sacrificing their lives to make a difference. Thousands are being impacted.
One of our Bible college graduates who lost her husband while she was in school continued on, raising six children by herself, and is now supporting twenty-nine children in an orphanage in the Congo. My good friends, Darey and Karen Jolly, have laid their lives down to minister to thousands of children in Nicaragua. The first graduates of their K-12 schools are now entering college. Only the Lord knows what tragedies they stopped and what good will be done through these children who have been loved and shown the true Gospel.
Our Charis Bible Colleges are impacting thousands of lives. We now have more people actively participating in CBC right now than all those who have gone through the colleges over the last eighteen years. The numbers are growing, and I believe this is making a difference.
Our students in Uganda have impacted that nation. I met with the president and first lady of Uganda who have totally embraced what we are doing there. President Museveni recently addressed the nation and publicly repented of his personal sins and the sins of the nation and dedicated the nation of Uganda to the Lord. Praise God!
There are people all around us who are resisting the devil and his influence, but obviously there is much more to be done. We are in a battle. We live in a fallen world and evil is everywhere. But so is God. However, He can only flow through us to the degree that we seek and submit to Him. He doesn’t sovereignly control all things.
I think it’s good that terrible things like this, shock and sadden us. We should always hate evil and grieve with those who grieve. I pray this never becomes so commonplace that we are insensitive to atrocities. But we should not be discouraged to the point of thinking, What can I do? Each one of us is a soldier in this war, and every godly thing we do makes a difference.
I don’t know what toxic mix of things caused this shooter to break and do what he did. There is no single cause that will ever be identified. But we have read that he was diagnosed with high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. One in eighty-eight boys are afflicted with this disorder in the U.S.A., and it is said to be incurable. Yet we have seen that condition healed by the power of the Lord. If you believe the medical profession alone, you are in despair. If you believe the power of the Word of God, nothing is incurable. What do you believe?
Just days ago, our Television Department completed a video of the healing of two brothers, Timothy and James, one with high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome, the other with autism spectrum disorder. This story has been prepared for an upcoming DVD titled Healing Journeys Volume IV. Although there is no scientific connection shown between Autism and violence, there is a wonderful connection between God’s healing power and this story, with a very happy ending.
Please feel free to click on this link to view the miraculous story of Timothy and James McDermott, and be encouraged to share the love of God with all you come in contact with. You are the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13). Only God knows how His life preserving flavor inside of you might change the world around you.
Finally, I want to once again say that Jamie and I weep with you and the entire world over the slaughter of these innocent children and their heroic teachers. Our prayers are that these families will be comforted by the Holy Spirit in ways beyond our understanding. At this Christmas season, I am reminded that our Lord Himself, as a mere infant, barely escaped such a slaughter of children in Bethlehem. Scripture reminds us that He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and that He is a high priest who can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. He is near to the brokenhearted, and He is their healer.