The tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo., has led many to ask the question, “Where was God?”
The simple answer is God is where He has always been – in His kingdom and here with those who call on His name and seek to do His will. His covenant name, Yahweh, in the Old Testament, means “The One Who Is Always Present.”
In times like these, those who have questioned God’s very existence suddenly turn in to “true believers” in order to place the blame squarely on His shoulders.
“Why did God allow this to happen?” is the question many are asking. The unchurched can be forgiven their ignorance. Unfortunately, far too many Christians are left struggling for the answer.
One prominent Aurora pastor, if properly quoted in the media, left his parishioners dangling. According to NBC’s Miranda Leitsinger, Pastor Jeff Noble admitted to his congregation at New Life Community Church, “I don’t know (the answer to that question).”
Is Noble suggesting that God is responsible for this tragedy?
If God is in control and simply “allowed” this to happen, then God is responsible for this evil. However, This would be against His character, which He revealed to us in His word. God is good. He is also righteous and just.
God controls and uses evil, but He is never morally responsible for it. (Ephesians 1:11)
God created man in his very image and provided for his every need. However, sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden when Satan persuaded Eve to reject God’s authority and trust her own ability to discern good and evil. Adam went along with his wife, and as a result, God rightly brought a curse on Adam and Eve subjecting them, and all of humankind, to physical death and separation from His holiness. (Romans 5:12)
One survivor lamented to a reporter, “We’re better than this!”
As a result of Adam and Eve’s actions, all of us are born into sin. There is none righteous, no not one. (Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23) “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19).
The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)
Fortunately for us, God is also a God of love. (Psalms 37:7) He sent His Son, Jesus, who knew no sin, to die in our place so that those who believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Through His grace and power we can overcome sin and live a life that is pleasing to Him. (James 4:7)
God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), but he has given us free will (Deuteronomy 30:15) to accept Him or reject Him. As a result, we are free to disregard His will for us and commit all kinds of sin. (I Thessalonians 4:3-8) Yes, even mass murder.
Before Jesus went to His death, He prayed to God the Father for His own: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.”
God was in that theater Friday night comforting His own and taking those who were fatally wounded to their heavenly home.
The Bible tells us not to fear those who kill the body but the soul. (Matthew 10:28)
The world views death as an end. However, Christians know that death is just the beginning. (2 Corinthians 5:8) Nethertheless, it is normal that we grieve over the loss of a loved one.
God is there to comfort the families and friends of the victims. Because Jesus was fully God and fully man, He understands loss and identifies with our pain. While living as a man, Jesus wept for Mary and Martha when they grieved over the death of their brother Lazarus, even though He later raised Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:35)
Satan meant this horrible act in Colorado for evil, but God will use it for good in your life if you will let Him. (Romans 8:28)
None of those people who went to the theater that night expected that it would be their last night on earth. However, some were prepared.