While we battle to get the tragic events of the Virginia Tech massacre out of our thoughts, we have probably heard one of our friends or acquaintances ask “where was God” or “if God is a loving God, how could He let something so horrific happen?” Truthfully, many of us have probably thought similar thoughts as we wrestled with such an evil and outrageous act. As men of God we must recognize the author of evil. In John 10:10 Jesus makes it very clear when He says “The thief comes only to steal andkill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The thief is Satan and he works ever so diligently to accomplish his mission of stealing, killing and destroying. Jesus, on the other hand, came so that we might have an abundant and full life. Jeremiah 29: 11-13 gives us a glimpse of what was to come when it says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Even in tragedy we must seek God with all our heart. God’s desire is to provide us “hope and a future” not evil and destruction. James 1: 13-15 tells us “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” You see it is our sinful desire that gives way to temptation and temptation leads to destruction and yes even death. 1 Peter 5: 8 advises us to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan is constantly attempting to destroy and devour the one creation made in God’s own image, human beings.
Contrast this to the picture Jesus creates when He said “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8: 42-47) The unbelieving world cannot comprehend God and His desires for us because they do not belong to Him. If we profess to belong to Him then we must hold to the promises He has made to us, even when it is difficult. If our belief in God is based upon understanding why He allows such tragedies to occur, then we have missed the very essence of the relationship He has offered to us; a relationship based on faith. Hebrews 10: 23 tells us “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” God is faithful and we must hold to the promises He has made to us even when we do not understand why He has allowed bad and sometimes tragic events to occur. It is in times like these that we should seek God’s face and bow down before Him in praise and worship. We need to boldly request that God use these opportunities to allow us to grow in our trust and faith relationship with Him. Faith is not based on understanding but can be defined as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11: 1) God did not fall asleep nor did He ignore the students at Virginia Tech. God is constantly at work in us and in the world. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow in spite of what happens in this world. God’s plans, despite our understanding of them, are the one and only thing that gives us a hopeful future. Romans 15: 13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” God’s desire is to use the power of the Holy Spirit to fill us with joy and peace so abundantly that it overflows even when we face tragic circumstances. Trust that God will give you insight and understanding when it is appropriate to do so. Be mindful that until that time comes, God is grooming and developing your faith in Him. Let it be said that we are men of faith and steadfast in our devotion to our Heavenly Father in all circumstances.