Yesterday the people of the United States sat in shock as events unfolded that left a number of people dead, many hurt, and even more overwhelmed by the emotions and impact. There is no doubt that many were horrified and hurt by the actions in San Bernadino . . . some more directly impacted by it than others. For Christians, the event was even more significant when we learned that “God isn’t fixing this” according to the New York Daily News, a headline that major news outlets picked up by early morning. This is a tremendous statement that says much about the spiritual state of people, and so we have to ask, “If God isn’t going to fix this, who or what will?”
According to the immediate response of many, including the New York Daily News, the answer is gun control. However, this answer fails to provide the solution for two major aspects of what took place:
- Gun control does not provide comfort to those who lost loved ones yesterday.
- Gun control does not provide solutions to the reason behind the shootings.
Ultimately, what we have before us is not a political issue, but a spiritual issue. Situations like that of yesterday’s shooting are inherently theological issues and therefore the only way to answer them is theologically. In the aftermath of such a devastating event, what should we do?
If God is the sovereign Lord over all, then there are four responses we should have:
1. We trust God.
God is at work around us. He has proven that His plan is for the good of His people and for the glory of Himself (Romans 8:28). We trust Him with the past, so we must also trust Him with the present and the future. The Lord is still gracious, merciful and good to all (Psalm 145:8-9). Even though it is difficult to comprehend in the immediate moments following a terrible catastrophe, we still trust God and God’s motives.
2. We pray to God.
In demonstration of our trust we pray to God. We may not understand everything, but we trust God and pray to Him. Why? Because He is a God who hears our prayers and answers our prayers (1 John 5:14). As Dr. Albert Moher reminds us, even though prayer may not be politically correct, it is still a right action and a righteous action.
3. We comfort God’s people.
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 that God is the God of comfort and as we experience the significance of what is going on, we grieve with the people in order to comfort the people. Although not directly impacted, and thus not experiencing the full force of what others may be dealing with, we grieve over the sin and the loss of human life. As much as it grieves God, it should also grieve us. And so, we comfort God’s people pointing them towards peace.
4. We share God’s message.
No man, no woman, no child will ever experience peace with the world until they have peace with God. So we share God’s message, the gospel, with people. Only when one comes to know God as Lord and Savior will they begin to make any sense of what has taken place. Only then will they also trust God, pray to God, and find comfort from God.
Those two solutions that gun control proponents fail to provide, comfort to those in mourning and a solution to the reasons for shootings, take place when we share the gospel. The theological answer to our theological problem is the gospel of God: salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.