What Happened in Vegas . . .
Even though I’ve been on vacation, I’ve been watching the news like many of you have, seeking clues as to . . . WHO? WHY? WHEN? WHAT?
This must be why we call it “senseless violence”. There are no reasons that makes sense!
Who was Stephen Paddock?
Why did he commit such a heinous crime?
When did he give signals that could have tipped people off concerning the impending doom?
What can be done to prevent tragedies like this in the future?
Most of us are wired to think there is no problem we can’t solve! That grit is part of the indomitable American Spirit!
That’s part of what is so exasperating when we can’t seem to find a solution to the violence plaguing us that . . . just doesn’t make sense!
What I think drives us crazy is the Illusion of Control.
It looks like this:
- IF we could just understand the behavior of the perpetrators, we could prevent this type of behavior!
- IF we could just pass the right law or laws, this wouldn’t happen again!
- IF we just paid attention to people around us, we would have notified authorities.
We reason that we SHOULD be able to guarantee the safety of people who . . .
- Send their kids to school,
- Watch a movie at the theatre,
- Enjoy a country music concert,
- Participate in any OR all of the activities routinely enjoyed by a free society BUT . . .
THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES . . . EXCEPT ONE!
God is on the throne!
He’s sitting on His throne, just as He was when His people (the Israelites) were trampled, killed, made to be slaves, and . . . He sits on that same throne as He did when His only son was brutally murdered SO THAT what the law will always be powerless to do could be accomplished THROUGH HIM!
Many would say, “What good is THAT if He doesn’t stop the shooter before a shot is fired?!?”
The Bible teaches that The Evil One is allowed to reign over the earth temporarily.
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. Ephesians 2:1–2 (HCSB)
Another part of the American Spirit that is becoming lost . . . has been knowing the point where our wisdom ends and we become aware of our total dependence upon God.
Only God can remove murder from the human heart and redeem that same heart in order to make it His home!
Why does God allow evil?
God allows people to choose . . . and experience the consequences of our choices. MAYBE so that, by experiencing the realities of Evil, people will choose Him AND LIVE!
God’s desire is for all people to live with Him for eternity! However, in order for that to happen, He has to allow us to experience some of what life would be like without Him!
What’s the solution?
- Find your security in God alone. (Psalm 56:3-4)
- Love Jesus more than life itself. (Philippians 1:21)
- Live without fear of death. (Colossians 3:1-4)
- Run toward those hurting. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)
Rather than try to use God to preserve the temporary, dedicate yourself to serving Jesus to promote eternity!
Afterall . . . what happens in Vegas has never stayed in Vegas!
3 But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. 4 I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:3–4 (NLT)
21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. 24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Philippians 1:21–24 (NLT)
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. Colossians 3:1–4 (NLT)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (ESV)
3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:3–10 (NIV)
When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away. Luke 21:9 (NIV)
Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:25 (NIV)
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. May the Lord give strength to His people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! Psalm 29:10-11
4 I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:4–7 (NIV)
22 And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:22–24 (NIV)
The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB)