I did not know until Wednesday evening during a time of prayer at our church. One of the men with whom I was praying mentioned it in his prayer, the school shooting in Parkland, FL. My heart was grieved at yet another tragic event at a school involving the loss of life.
I then read a story Thursday about the assistant football coach who stood in front of others, shielding them from the bullets that struck and killed him instead.
The news is sad, and every Christian should grieve because image-bearers of God have been needlessly killed. I do not know where any of them stood in relationship to God, but their eternal destinations are now set. I can only pray, as I did this morning, that gospel-preaching churches in the area have opportunities to share the grace-filled message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those families who are grieving over their heart-wrenching losses.
There is another side of this that is worth considering, though. Should any of us be surprised at such a heinous and immoral act?
Not just because this is one in a string of many publicized school shootings that go back to Columbine, but because of the spiritual and theological underpinnings of such events.
For instance, in the book of Judges 12, 18, 19, and 21 God records for us that this was the time when there was no human king in Israel (though God was their King). Twice it tells us that the people did that which was right in their own eyes, and the narratives of those chapters are filled with immorality, greed, perversity, and rampant idolatry.
When people function as if there is no eternal King, as if there is no God, should anything surprise us that we see in the news anymore? We say we can't believe that someone would do such a thing. Why not? When men have themselves and their own thoughts as their gods, they are capable of doing anything, and justify it in their own minds. This doesn't take away from the horrific nature of the event and action, but as Christians, we need to think biblically about such actions.
This 19-year old young man was simply doing that which was right in his own eyes. Why? Because the one true and living God was not his God. He functioned as if there was no God, and therefore walked in accordance with his own futile thinking.
We should be surprised that more events like this don't happen, not that they happen at all.
I pray that God brings this troubled soul to the realization that there is a true and living God, who loves him, and sent Christ to die for his sin, and who desires to give him forgiveness and eternal life. I pray that this man gets saved. The consequences of his actions will still need to be realized, but forgiveness and salvation can also be extended. If you don't believe that, then read 1 Timothy 1:12-17.
What this young man did in that school, as heinous and heart-wrenching as it is, is illustrative of the innumerable acts of immorality, greed, lust, anger, idolatry, and hatred that take place every day in homes, in churches, in communities, and in our country.
Should we be surprised at what happens when when people do not function as if God exists? I do not believe so.
The problem is not a gun problem; it is not an education problem; it is not a society problem. The problem is a heart problem; it is a glory problem; it is a problem of misplaced worship.
People need a heart that has been given spiritual life through the gospel of Jesus Christ; people need to place the glory of God as their all-encompassing pursuit of life; people need to worship on the one true and living God, the God of the Bible.
And we as Christians need to be on a mission to proclaim this life-giving, God-glorifying message that people need to worship God through Jesus Christ, and him alone. We need to strive to make and mature true disciples of Jesus Christ for the glory of God.
May we pray today for the families of those impacted by this criminal act, and also for the young man who committed it.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!