Following every tragedy there is now a wave of concern from the majority of people. Many express this concern by saying things like, "My prayers are with the victims." Others say, "Our thoughts are with the victims." And some even say, "Sending out thoughts (or good vibes) to the victims." The last phrase is more of a post-modern, secular humanistic response, with little meaning, and less impact. Generally, I think most people aren't sending anything... vibes or otherwise. I doubt many are even praying for that matter. Some polls show that only about half of Americans offer up a prayer every day.
But praying in response to a disaster is not new, and can have great impact, as long as you are praying to Someone who can actually help. Praying to the air is pointless. God does not promise to respond to the sharing of vibes. He is attentive to His people, and more than happy to act on their behalf. But prayer is not a Welfare benefit. There are certain thresholds of responsibility in the process. And in the end, God is not required to answer any old prayer.
Unfortunately, the more our culture has pushed God out of daily life, the more tragedies happen. It is part of the game. You can't ask God to leave and then wonder why your world is falling apart. This internal conflict and dysfunction was recently made apparent by a New York Daily News headline following the San Bernardino mass shooting. Of course, as is often the case, many Conservative politicians came out and said, "Our prayers are with the victims." But in a culture that has done its level best to eradicate the Christian God from society, it wasn't surprising that this was the headline in bold print that caught the eyes and hearts of our nation...
"GOD ISN'T FIXING THIS"
I have included a photo of the front page headline. You will notice that the photos of politicians only includes those who pray to the God of Christianity. This isn't surprising. Ours is the only true God, and so He is the only one who could fix it. And let's be honest, they were also using God to take a political jab... "Hey... God isn't fixing our violence issue. This is on us. You need to take a stronger position on gun control." But let's break it down a little bit. Is it true or fair to blame God for not fixing our out of control violence and terrorism?
First, as one of my friends stated... We can blame God for not fixing it, but in all fairness, God didn't break it. But the paper was not actually interested in God's part in the process. They were more interested in throwing rocks at us for not doing our part. Here's the thing... they are partially right, but they are looking in the wrong direction.
God isn't fixing our mess. But not because we aren't doing background checks on gun buyers at the flea market. God responds to honest prayers from honest people. We have plenty of other sin going on in our culture that we aren't wanting to deal with. We 'legally' kill over 1,000,000 babies a year behind closed doors. Only about 12,000 people will be murdered with guns this year. So the New York Daily News can suggest that prayers to the God of the Bible are meaningless platitudes, but it is more meaningless to pontificate about 10,000 deaths when there are over 1,000,000 babies being ripped apart in their mother's womb.
That's our mess. The gun murders in America for 100 years would not equal one year of abortion violence. God's system works. Our anti-system doesn't. God is more than willing to heal us. But He is expecting true repentance. This is what the New York Daily News doesn't get, and what many people are ignoring. They call conservatives 'cowards who are hiding behind meaningless platitudes while innocent people lie in pools of blood.' Yet they themselves are cowards who print meaningless platitudes as millions of children are ripped apart and their body parts sold for blood money. You can't have it both ways.
Here is God's path to healing...
"If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on My people,14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
Yes... God can fix things in my life, in my family, in my workplace, in my community, in my church, in my culture. But He isn't the dog that comes into the Roman orgy and feast to lick up our puke after we have gorged ourselves on our favorite sins. That isn't how this works. It is blasphemy to blame God for our sins. It is arrogant to expect Him to be our cultural housekeeper.
Today, do not live a lifestyle of sin while expecting God to bless and protect you. Check out this promise of God...
"Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat!Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!
Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods.
Pay attention and come to Me; listen, so that you will live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the promises assured to David.
Since I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples, so you will summon a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you will run to you.
For the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel, has glorified you.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near.
Let the wicked one abandon his way and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will freely forgive."
Perhaps God is actually fixing it in the people who surrender to His fixing.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.