My heart aches for the people of Parkland, Florida as I am sure many of yours do also. I can not begin to fathom the pain the children, parents, teachers, and all involved are enduring. This is suffering of excruciating magnitude.
Words are insufficient in explaining the inexplicable. Debating the politics that come from this without moving forward with tangible solutions only adds to the hurt we feel. It exasperates the frustration that stems from incidents like this that we all agree happen way too often. Truthfully, once was too many. Unfortunately, once happened long ago.
Personally, I don’t have all the answers. I doubt I have any. We can’t cure evil. You can’t solve what goes on in the mind of a maniac or develop a test that helps us identify who in their right mind would unleash something this horrific on their community. People in their right mind don’t do this. Even if we know what triggers this type of action, it will be an unsatisfying knowledge. Knowing why won’t really matter. It won’t bring back the lives the world has lost.
While I’ve heard that prayer has been proven ineffective, I personally know that nothing could be further from the truth. Prayer does work. It opens the door to healing and comfort in egregious times of trouble. Prayer starts a conversation with the God of the universe, allowing us to cry out to Him in our anguish. And prayer works in reality too. I have witnessed prayer at work, changing lives, healing hurts, and even inexplicably curing disease. No, prayer doesn’t always yield me the answer I want. Sometimes, when I pray, I get no answer. Experience has taught me that receiving a no or having my prayer be met with silence actually works out for my good. If God had granted me everything I’d every asked for, I’d be more of a mess than I already am. Prayer is anything but ineffective. It is an action. It does make a difference.
I recently heard a parent boast that he teaches his children that religion doesn’t matter. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. What you believe about God is really the most important thing about you. It informs how you live. Or at least it should. It guides you in the decisions you make. Or I hope that it would. What you believe or don’t believe matters greatly. Sure, we shouldn’t allow someone’s beliefs to impact how we view them or treat them. At least that’s what my understanding of Scripture teaches. I am to be loving and kind towards others, not because of who they are or who I am, but because of who God is.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
We seem to be caught up in somewhat of a chicken and egg argument. Is it the mental illness that is the problem or the access and availability to guns? Honestly, a rock in the hands of a mentally unstable person is a dangerous tool. What leads a person who feels unloved and feels isolated to do this? I don’t know. It seems unreasonable to expect that anyone can reason with an unstable person. Truthfully, I quit caring about why they do it once they pull the trigger. Yet, how I wish that someone could have done something to prevent this tragedy striking the community of Parkland, Florida.
I have heard it said that it seems like there is more of this atrocity than there used to be. Is there more evil in our world today than there was in past years or long-forgotten ages? While I would like to think that is the case, I’m not sure it is. I would like to think it is because in a crazy, delusional sort of way it might help me make sense of the madness seemingly occurring all around us at a rate of every other day or weekly, depending on whose statistics you want to believe. I’m not sure it is, because even the Bible depicts stories of horrific violence and sheer evil. I doubt the people of Sodom and Gomorrah would let go of their crown of vileness easily.
We must do what we can to not let evil win, knowing that ultimately, God has already won the victory for us all through the atoning sacrifice of His son, Jesus. We have to cling tightly to the promises God has given us. He is faithful. He has not forgotten us. He has not forsaken us. His mercies continue to be new with every morning.
While this post of mine may not make you feel better or provide you with the answer your heart desperately desires, know at the moment it is the best response I can muster. Forgive my inadequacy. Excuse my inability. Hear my heart. Like yours, it aches.
In the aftermath of another tragic situation, we can do everything we need to do to learn from it so that we can do whatever we need to do to prevent it from ever happening again. The answer won’t come overnight. Individually, we can remain watchful and vigilant, saying something when we see something, doing something when our gut gives us every indication something needs to be done. Hindsight is always 20/20. Let us learn from yesterday, so that we can make a difference tomorrow. It’s time for a change.