Here’s A Thought for Nov. 17

“Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”— Jesus in Matthew 10:16

Someday there will be no more violence and no more tears as “sorrow and mourning shall fly away.” (Isaiah 51:11); there will be a day. Since there is no tomorrow in heaven, “someday” on earth will have to suffice until then; because there will be a day.

When we demand an answer to the “why” question we run the risk of being caught between despair and rage which can be a dangerous place to dwell. To ask the question, however, is a trademark of our humanity; it’s understandable to want answers. At the end of this article or at the end of my life, for that matter, many answers will elude us. Though the “why”question can be dangerous we still ask it. It’s part of what makes us compassionate and human.

If you happen to shoot a game animal that is paired with another of the same species the wounded one will instinctually react to what happened by running, falling to the ground, etc. The other animal will use their senses to get information to answer the “what” question. What was that? Is it a threat? Should I run or freeze? Beasts do not ponder why they are being shot at.

Human beings, regardless of creed or culture place a very high value on human life. Though we are taught to value human life our record is less than stellar. Technology increases our efficiency and swells our lethality at a breakneck pace, which only generates more “why” questions.

Many attempts to satisfy “why”questions quickly turn to mush, especially when they are limited to a sound bite or come too quickly after an incident. At an event following the sabotage and killing of five police officers in Dallas in July of 2016, Eric Metaxas gave permission for those present to answer: “none of the above” when it comes to public atrocities.

“Sometimes there is a holy mystery and you just have to say ‘I don’t know.’ When I get to heaven I am going to ask the Lord and say, ‘Lord, I have to confess, I don’t understand how you could allow these (atrocities) to happen?'” Metaxas explained. “We want to respect skeptical questions and say ‘That is a good question but that doesn’t mean that is going to make me not believe in God.'”

In short, evil is still evil and the devil is not yet out of the picture — not yet. Job didn’t ask “why Lord?” he asked “why was I even born in the first place?” Read Job, the Old Testament, chapter 4; verse 17. It poses the question, “… shall a man be more pure than his maker?” The answer, by the way, is “no.”

The shooter at the church in Texas was not from another country. He was a man but little more than that. He was rational enough to put together a plan and carry it out. He had the latest arsenal to swell his effectiveness. He might have been manic but he was not insane (so it is thought). So as bits of information emerge or opinions get pasted on social media none of them can make any of us “not believe in God” unless we allow them to have that much power. So before the next atrocity (Lord, have mercy) ask yourself: Is there anything that would cause you to doubt God’s goodness?

I still believe in God. I still believe God is good. I still believe in people. I believe in human worth and dignity and the intrinsic value of every human life from the zygote to the Alzheimer’s patient. I also believe what Jesus warns us: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

While there are as few “take-aways” from mass shootings as there are “lessons to be learned” what we can say is that life is never to be wasted and tomorrow is never promised because God is good and God is still on the throne — and always will be.

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