SOME WEEKS, it is very difficult for me to think of a column topic. I spend hours searching through news headlines and websites for inspiration. I pray and plead with God to give me some little nugget to work with as my deadline fast approaches. Thankfully, there are also weeks when the words come pouring out so fast my fingers have difficulty keeping up.
Then there are weeks like this one. When the topic is obvious, but I dread writing about it. To not write about the deadly mass shootings that took place last weekend would be to ignore the proverbial elephant in the living room. But what can I say that I haven’t already said?
There have been 334 mass shootings per year, on average, in this country since I started writing this column five years ago. Most of these never make national headlines. The ones that do are forever seared into our collective conscious. Columbine. Sandy Hook. The Orlando nightclub. Las Vegas. Parkland High School. I would quickly hit my word limit if I were to continue to list each and every tragic event.
Furthermore, each incident represents hundreds of victims. Those who were killed or injured. Their families and friends. The first responders. Lives snuffed out too soon or forever changed because of the senseless actions of another.
Since I cannot find something new to say in light of the recent tragedies, I will simply say what I have said before. There will be a lot of debate about guns in the coming days, but guns are not the problem. In fact, four people were killed and two were injured over night Wednesday when a man went on a stabbing spree in California. And we must never forget that 3,000 people died Sept. 11, 2001, and not one shot was fired.
The problem is not the weapon. No, the issue goes far deeper than that. And while I believe that there are things that need to be changed in regard to gun control, this is not a problem that can be legislated away because laws and regulations can never control the heart of man.
The prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Jesus said, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:21-22).
Evil men (and women) will always find a way to perpetrate evil deeds. Man has been committing violent acts against his fellow man since the beginning of time—Cain killed Abel with a stone—and will continue to do so despite our best efforts to stop them.
If that were the end of the story, I am not sure I would be able to bring myself to get out of the bed in the morning. The fear would be too great—the dark cloud of evil too heavy a burden. Thankfully, I do not need to keep my eyes focused on the fear, because in God I find my security and resting place.
Like the Psalmist, I will sing, “God is [my] refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore [I] will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging . . . The Lord Almighty is with [me]; the God of Jacob is [my] fortress” (Psalm 46).
Social activism is important—making it more difficult for the bad guys to get guns, helping those with mental illness get the care they need and deserve, addressing issues such as fatherless homes and violent video games (yes, I believe they factor into the equation)—but I will not place my hope in these things.
No, I will place my hope in one place, rather, one Person, “[I] put my hope in the Lord. He is [my] help and [my] shield. In him [my] heart rejoices, for [I] trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround [me], Lord, for [my] hope is in you alone” (Psalm 33:20-22).
Will you please join me in praying for the families of the victims of these horrific tragedies? Let us also cry out to God for the state of our nation for it is promised, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).