The tragic mass shooting in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Sunday incited a multitude of responses demonstrating our culture’s problem with religion, and more specifically, with Christianity. Many took to twitter to mock Christianity, claiming that “prayers don’t work” and “if prayers did anything they’d still be alive”.
Asserting that “prayers don’t work” in the aftermath of a tragedy simply demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the Christian faith. In the Bible, Jesus, God’s only Son, is murdered. Jesus prays to His Father before the crucifixion, asking that this “cup may pass” and that he not be murdered, if it be God’s will. However, God allows evil men to murder His Son because He knew He could use that act of evil for a far greater good, eternal salvation.
Because of God’s providential plan for salvation, Christians know that the effectiveness of prayer is not contingent on the way God responds. Christians know that prayers do work, regardless of how God answers. They know that His plan may not make sense in the moment, but that is what gives meaning to faith.
The prayers of those killed did not go to waste. Heaven is the ultimate answer to prayer.
One couple, Joe and Claryce Holcombe, demonstrated true Christian faith after losing nine family members in the shooting. Joe Holcombe stated that he and his wife are “very close to God” and have not lost any faith because of the tragedy. The Holcombe’s stated: “God doesn’t want us to understand him, he wants us to trust him…we don’t understand how God works, but we trust everything he does.”
Two Clashing Ideologies
The shooter was reportedly an atheist who had previously mocked Christians. In his worldview, and that of atheists alike, the murder of innocent lives is not objectively wrong. Without moral absolutes, murder could very well be subjectively acceptable.
To simultaneously condemn the shooter and mock prayer, as many did, is to live by two opposing world-views; one in which objective morality exists and one in which it does not.
The gunman committed an act of great evil on Sunday, but immense evil exists because an even greater good exists. The devil fights because he has something to fight against.
The government will never fix the world’s evil. No amount of gun control will solve the problem, as exemplified by the fact that the shooter obtained the gun illegally. This does not mean the government should do nothing, but we cannot expect it alone to fix a problem far greater than its capabilities allow which is the epidemic of nihilism in our country.
No piece of legislation can replace goodness Himself. God may not answer our prayers the way we want Him to, but they will never go unanswered.