Angel believed the lies the world told her. She felt worthless and ugly. Her life became a swirling mess of men, booze, and drugs until one day she cried out to God, “Kill me or save me. But don’t …
It’s been one week since the Aurora theater massacre, and people are still searching for answers. Some are even asking,” Where was God in Aurora massacre?” CNN asked the question on twitter. The following is some of the responses. What do you think?
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Where was God in Aurora?
It’s a fresh take on an age-old question: Why does God allow suffering, natural disasters or – if you believe in it – evil?
We put the question to Twitter on Tuesday and got some starkly different responses.
“In short, God was in complete control, exercising His will,” wrote @PastorRileyF, who leads a church in Bethune, Colorado.
That riled @TheTrivia Jockey, who tweeted, “If that was God’s will, God is definitely not deserving of my worship.”
@trentpayne also took issue with the Colorado pastor: “I’m going to respectfully disagree with you Pastor. God gives free will to man, but it wasn’t his will that they die.”
The back-and-forth provoked other believers to chime in on the theological issue of God’s sovereignty vs. human free will, with many Christians seeking to explain how a sovereign God could preside over seemingly senseless bloodshed.
The conversation and debate continued in the comments section of this post, with some insinuating that the massacre might be a kind of divine punishment, or at lease divine neglect:
We as a country have been telling God to go away. We told him to get off our currency, get out of our schools, get out of our Pledge of Allegiance, take your Ten Commandments out of our courthouses, get those Bibles out of hotels and no graduation ceremonies in our churches. How can we expect God to give us his blessing and his protection if we demand that he leave us alone?
Liberals have made it impossible for God to be anywhere during the upbringing of a child. Can’t have any religious connotations in schools, libraries, government offices, etc., etc. Young men (and women) are growing up with no real sense of right and wrong. … We no longer have the right of religion, but rather the right from religion. Parents no longer have the ability to discipline their children. We are always looking for the excuses … violent video games and movies, bad teachers and schools … when we should be looking in the mirror. We as a society are the reasons these massacres happen. We have allowed our children to become social misfits that lead to the kind of carnage we have seen on several occasions since religion and God disappeared from what the Founding Fathers once said was a necessity of a successful democracy … faith.
Lots of readers used religious takes on the shooting to challenge the whole idea of God:
Who invited me?
How do you know the people that were killed didn’t go to hell?, and how exactly does any of this show there is a reason? Reason is obviously something that you have replaced with belief, and you threw out logic with it.
“God doesn’t exist, so he wasn’t anywhere. Get over it. A man was evil, and he was evil because he was crazy.
Plenty of others said the shooting was the devil’s work:
Evil things like this happen because Satan is the god of this world … for the time being. God will undo all the damage caused by Satan’s rebellion and man’s disobedience when the time is right. In the meantime we all experience trials and tribulation due to living in an ungodly world. That is why Jesus taught his followers the Lord’s Prayer … ‘to pray for God’s kingdom to come.’
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15-15).
One weight that God does not want you to carry is the weight of unforgiveness. Yet many in the body of Christ find it difficult to forgive. Unforgiveness not only affects your spiritual growth, but it also weighs heavily on your emotional and physical well-being.
The apostle Peter, a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, and a stalwart of the early Church, struggled with the weight of unforgiveness. He hated the Gentiles. He referred to them as common and unclean. He even refused to preach the gospel to them. There is no evidence that the apostle Peter ever reconcile his differences with the Gentiles.
In the book of Matthew chapter 18:21-22, Jesus uses Peter’s struggle to teach us how to forgive. If we followed His instructions the world will be a better place:
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven
Unforgiveness is an attitude of the heart that abides outside the law of love. To walk in forgiveness is to walk in great spiritual freedom. Your heart is light when it does not carry grudge, bitterness, or resentment. To forgive does not mean that you agree with the offence that someone has committed, or that you support it in any way.
To forgive means that you choose to release the judgment you are carrying toward someone, even though that person did something that was unkind or unfair. The choice to forgive is not based on fairness or justice, but on mercy and grace. Mercy triumphs over judgment when you choose to forgive. Jesus did not carry any grudge against the people who nailed Him to the cross. Instead, He showed mercy by saying; “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
As you navigate your Christian journey, you’ll face trial and tribulation; partly because you love Jesus and partly because the enemy is upset that he has lost a prized possession. He will use every trick in the book to win you back, and if you are not careful, you will be right back where you had started—living in sin.
It is very easy to get distracted in today’s world. Lifestyles are presented in magazines and on television that seem so appealing. And the enemy will entice you with “the good life”—money, cars, clothes; glitz and glamour. But if you know who you are and what is your purpose in Christ, the tempting pursuit of such things will not attract or entice you.
However, as you press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. You’ll need fuel to sustain you on your journey. That fuel can only come from your inner hunger and thirst after the righteousness of God. The more resolute you are in your quest for the prize, the more you’ll seek to know Him .
Your daily hunger after God brings great joy to His heart. He celebrates your every step of obedience to His Word, your every response of faith to His leading, and your every expression of wonder for His ways with you. He delights in your pursuit to know Him more, in your desires to enjoy Him more, and in your longings to love Him more.
As you hunger after Him, you will find that His banqueting table is always full, that His portions are more than generous, and that His hospitality is beyond compare.
To hunger after Him means that you will never go away empty or dissatisfied. In Him are a thousand delights, a limitless supply of eternal joys, and an endless amount of spiritual blessings.
Beloved brothers and sisters, I hope when everything has been said and done, you will say with confidence, as the apostle Paul did:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)