I have spent much time over the past day pondering the atrocity committed at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut. As many of you, I have shed tears and uttered prayers for those who both suffered losses of friends and family members as well as for those children who witnessed the violent murder of their fellow classmates and trusted teachers. I know that the grief and sadness I feel is but a mere fraction of what my brothers and sisters in Connecticut are experiencing. I am also grieved, ashamed, and disappointed with my fellow believers (some of whom are leaders) responses; but I am also encouraged by the others who have held prayer vigils, extended condolences, and spoken words of comfort and compassion.
I know I will not be popular for this stance, but if popularity is what I sought I would certainly not be where I am, doing what I do. In this blog I will address one of the most prevalent answers many of my fellow believers are offering as to why God “allowed” this (and other) tragedy to happen to such innocents and those who dedicate their lives to their education. For the sake of saving time I will paste a link with the reasoning I’ve seen referenced to and argued on FaceBook not just after this tragedy but many times before:
In short, the stance is “What do you expect when you kicked God out of the schools, government, parenting, etc.?” The stand is that God is a gentleman and He has humbly bowed out of our schools as we have asked; therefore, He was not “there” to stop this tragedy. Not only is this statement biblically unsound, it is also hateful and vindictive. Dear, fellow, beloved believers: in the Name of all that it Holy, STOP IT!
The Bible is clear: God DOES NOT live in buildings or operate through the governments of this world’s system –
Acts 7:48-51 48 However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
49 ‘Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, Or what is the place of My rest?
50 Has My hand not made all these things?’
51 “You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you (NKJV).
Acts 17: 24-29 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.
25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.
26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising (NKJV).
John 18:35-36 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence (KJV).
I submit to you that God was not “kicked out” of the schools because He never lived there in the first place. God was not kicked out of government because He never lived there or operated there either. Although it is true that there are many Scriptures in the Old Testament where God disciplined the nation of Israel for her ungodliness and idolatry: I fear American believers have the false assumption that America is the New Testament Israel. My friends, we are not God’s “new chosen nation”. Because of the cross there is now no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free…but we are all one in Christ (Gal. 3:28-29). God lives and operates through His people both individually and corporately (Matt. 5:13-16). Verse 12 of Matthew 5 talks about rejoicing when persecuted, that command is followed by explaining that we are salt and light and we are not to “hide our light under a basket” but let it shine! Christians took “God” (at least His representation) out of schools and government and created baskets to hide under by placing their children in Christian Schools or simply homeschooling them. We did this because we thought that if we were not allowed to pray or read our Bibles in school that we were not able to be Christians there. Isn’t that ridiculous!? If a dog is muzzled and bound so that it cannot bark or wag its tail does it cease to be a dog? NO! Believers all over the world are witnessing and “shining the light” without toting their Bibles or even making a public prayer…so what happened?
We experienced a tiny bit of persecution and ran for the hills! We are called to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Mk 16:15)…” My dad used to say that according to this commandment you need special permission to stay! Time to “man up” and teach our children to be “arrows in the hands of an expert marksman (Ps. 127:4). Time to actually teach our children how to withstand persecution and be strong, courageous, and confident in their faith (Josh. 1:5-9). God chose Abraham to be the conduit for the entrance of the salvation plan because He knew Abraham would be faithful to teach his children:
Gen 18:19 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him (KJV).
Deut 6:4-8 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes (KJV)
This is how I was raised. My parents did not allow themselves to be so busy that they did not take time to instruct me in the ways of righteousness. They taught me to use my faith for more than just healing and prosperity. They taught me how to “dwell in the secret place of the most high and abide under His shadow”. In my blogs over the next few weeks (or for as long as I am led of the Lord) I will be sharing stories from my childhood of God’s protection – so many times I could have/should have died. I encourage you to read those stories with your children and to begin to build within them the faith to stand in this evil day.
May God bless you. May the Spirit of the Most High encourage, empower, and strengthen you to do His will. May the people of God rise up and shine once again…and May His Church become the Brilliant Bride that she was created to be…
The Spirit and Bride say…COME!