In the wake of the horrific tragedy that took place at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, America has jumped into a now all-too-familiar cycle. You know it as well as I do, Leftists demand gun control, while the Right says that shootings like this are why we need more good people carrying guns. Same song, who knows which verse, could get better, but it’s likely going to get worse.
But this article isn’t about gun control. It’s about the people that were butchered in that little white church, who they were, and who their God is.
Along with all of the other arguments (some valid, many not) being thrown around the internet and bickered over on television and in print, a relatively new line has begun to emerge from the Left.
Adherents to this line openly taunt anyone who says that they are praying for the victims of mass killings. Because this massacre happened in a church, in Texas no less, the mockery has been especially hot this time.
Many are openly ridiculing the victims of the shooting, asking where their God was and why He did nothing to protect them. Sarcastic shots about an “imaginary friend,” and even remarks about the victims having “the prayers shot right out of them,” have not only been rampant, but also celebrated. Many using this line would say that they are advocating for “action” with these remarks, but the vitriolic and hateful tone they are using cannot be ignored.
So where was God when this happened?
He was right there with them.
Just like He is there with the Believers being slaughtered by ISIS and others in the Middle East and Syria. Just like He was there with the Christians who were blown up in Church on Palm Sunday in Egypt. Just like He was there with the members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston when Dylan Roof murdered them. Just like He is there with the Hmong Christians being beheaded in Vietnam. Just like He was there with Christ Followers like Richard Wormbrand who were imprisoned, tortured, and killed by the Communists of the U.S.S.R.. Just like He was there with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the other members of the Confessing Church who were murdered by the Nazis in Germany. Just like He was there with the 1.5 million Armenian Believers who were systematically raped and killed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. Just like He was there with the Apostles and Church Fathers who were tortured, imprisoned and fed to wild animals in the Roman Empire during the early days of the Church. Just like He was there with Jesus Christ Himself when He was mocked, humiliated, tortured, and murdered on a hill outside Jerusalem.
You see, Christians were killed long before guns were ever invented, and we will be killed long after they are banned. And we understand that. Our God was killed. How could we ever demand to be spared? But that doesn’t mean that He is absent or powerless.
Anyone with a true understanding of the tenets of Christianity knows that our faith is not in a God who promises physical protection, pleasure, or wealth. Our faith is in a God who we know can protect us from harm, but often chooses not to–often for reasons that we don’t understand. Christ’s own death seemed senseless at the time, but ultimately led to his greatest victory over the grave. Who then would we be to demand an immediate answer? Frank Pomeroy, the pastor of that tiny church in Texas, who lost his own daughter along with so many friends, said it best when he was asked why horrific tragedy happened. He simply answered that he doesn’t know why, but that his God does.
Why would anyone place their faith in a God like this? Why would anyone in his or her right mind trust their souls to a God that does not promise protection, prosperity, or often even answers ? Because He offers something so much more priceless: Himself.
He offers us the opportunity to know and to truly be known by our Creator. He offers unconditional love and forgiveness when we are at our absolute worst for no other reason than that He wants to. He offers us eternal adoption as His sons and daughters simply because that is who He created us to be.
As His adopted sons and daughters, we know that our identity is secure in Him. We are the Children of God. We no longer have to run on life’s hamster-wheel of constantly trying to achieve enough, to conquer enough, to amass enough, to experience enough to satisfy our thirsty souls. We are satisfied.
We no longer have to live in fear of the unknown, of failure, of rejection, of death. We are secure.
Because of this satisfaction, because of this security in Him, we are confident that regardless of the political climate, regardless of the Media, or the Government, or anyone else’s perception of us or our God, we are the Church. And as the Church, we know that the very gates of Hell will never prevail against us. For us, prayer is, was, and always will be, enough.