God is completely sovereign. God is infinite in wisdom. God is perfect in love. God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to bring it about.
— Jerry Bridges
News broke out yesterday about a shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A gunman shot into a congregation during a morning service at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. As of this moment, according to BBC, Bloomberg, and Fox News, 26 people were killed and 20 people were injured. Moments like this are a heavy blow to all of us, not only as a nation or as Christians, but as people. By God’s grace, even the common man can know the dignity and value a human life has. Like myself, many are in an outrage as to how this could happen.
The shooting has gone down as one of the worst shootings in history, and the worst violent attack against a church. That is not to mention that only a few weeks ago, the United States’ deadliest shooting occurred in Las Vegas. There have been numerous attacks recently, all of them having unclear to no motives whatsoever. It begs the question as to why these things happen. These recent shootings had gunmen who practically had no motive, no political motivation, and no religious extremism present. The situation would not be so confusing if there was a reason, but there is no reason, as of now, that we know of.
Ultimately, I believe that it is because of the fact that where there is no goodness, there is evil. It’s a simple fact that if I flip my light switch down, I can turn off the light in my room, leaving nothing but darkness. I believe that it is the same with goodness. If humans deny the source of goodness, if they turn away from the source of love, and if they think they could come up with something better than that source… we are all headed for all kinds of evil. That evil could pervade our towns, our nation, and the rest of the world through media and pop-culture.
Now, the question is simple: what, or rather who, is the source of good? Who decides what is good and what is evil? What is the force behind all that keeps evil from happening? Psalm 34:8 (ESV) gives us that answer by saying, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Notice what this verse doesn’t say. It doesn’t say, “Try to find out that the Lord is good.” Neither does it say, “It doesn’t matter if you accept it or not.” The text is clear as day. God is the source of all good, and God’s goodness is for everyone to see, despite the many adversities and evils that we might witness.
Let me be clear about what I am saying. I am not saying that we are always supposed to be happy and ‘feel good’ because of the fact that the Lord is good. I am also not saying that we must ignore seeking justice for the wrongdoer, or rewarding those who do good deeds for other people. What I am saying is that God, the Creator and Sustainer of the world we live in, is good. All He intends is for the good of His people, and for His glory. If we knew any better, we would realize that this is a wise and good decision on God’s part.
Why do we have moments of doubt, confusion, and grief? Because it is only natural. We are to be saddened by tragedies like Sutherland Springs. We are to grieve for the losses we go through, and those our friends have to endure through as well. We are to be saddened for our fellow believers who struggle with sin and addiction. But, I still believe that most of our doubt and chaos comes from the fact that we forget how good God is.
Look at what has happened to this nation in just over the span of about forty years. I still can’t believe it. The fear of the Lord is pretty much absent, reverence and recognition for the Almighty God are not encouraged, and God’s standards of good are being thrown away for new ways of life. When we reject God, we reject His goodness too, and I think this country is forgetting that. Even though this attack happened during a church service, don’t think that this may not be God’s wake up call.
God gave us wicked and immoral rulers to rule over us, allowed for horrible shootings to occur, and ordained that the people in the United States would be in chaos. What more do we need to get the message: we need God’s goodness! God wants us to recognize that without Him, there is no good. And where there is no good, there is evil. That is why I strongly desire that we turn back to God.
I am not here to make a political statement about gun control. I am not here to talk about what kind of security our churches need because, quite frankly, I couldn’t give two hoots about that stuff. I also don’t care for any media’s agenda. I am here to say that something evil happened, and I know in my heart that it is because God is being turned away. The gunman thought he could do something in his power to do what he called good, rather than what God called good: Thou shalt not murder. I am saddened because we are all going through so much just for us to finally hear what God is trying to say to us: we need Him!
Martin Luther once penned these words in his hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God: “…Our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe / His craft and pow’r are great / And, armed with cruel hate / On earth is not his equal.” Satan will continue to do misdeeds and cause us all to rebel against God. But there is a hope in that hymn that says, “The prince of darkness grim / We tremble not for him / His rage we can endure / For, lo, his doom is sure / One little word shall fell him.” Satan will try, but God’s good word will “fell him.”
If there is anything that I have learned in life, it is that God is always good. God knows what He is doing. I can testify to the fact that if anyone surrenders to God, then goodness will follow. How do I know this? He says so. Psalm 23:6 (ESV) says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” May we see our need for God, even in the midst of our tragedy. May America take notice at the warning signs God has given us. Finally, may we never cease to understand our need for God’s goodness and common grace upon all people.
(I would all like all of us to keep the people of Sutherland Springs, TX in our prayers. This is a very terrible tragedy, and I pray that God would comfort them and grant them mercy. His ways are not our ways, and may they still see the glory and majesty of God in the midst of such a horrific event.)
Soli Deo Gloria.