TERRORISTS ON CAMPUS, AROUND THE WORLD & OUR RESPONSE Dr. Jim H. Savage Sr. Pastor, Riverchase UMC
Recent days on the campus of Virginia Tech have caused people to ask once more: “Where is God?” “Is this part of God’s plan?” “Is this part of God’s will?” I am one of those who would say: “No, this is not part of God’s plan, or God’s will, and was not what God wished to see happen.”
So why did these senseless murders take place? Many reasons are being offered but the truth is the Bible says there are still “principalities and powers of darkness and rulers of this world” that exist today. To say that the senseless murders at Virginia Tech are part of God’s all-knowing, all-powerful, and irresistible-will contradicts several key passages in the Bible. One key passage is in Genesis where we see the early temptation of Adam and Eve that came from The Tempter and not from God. John 10:10 reminds us that “The thief (evil) comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I (Jesus and the Trinity) have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”
I have some VERY important thoughts to share with you from the writer of James. “Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). (Is God the one who does the tempting and testing you ask?) “No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted and tested by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself TEMPTS/TESTS NO ONE.
But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. Do NOT be deceived, my beloved. EVERY generous act of giving, with every PERFECT gift, is from ABOVE, coming down from the Father of light, with whom there is no variation or shadow to change” (James 1:13-17). Would parents of the slain youth say their murder was a “good or perfect gift”?! Certainly not! Then the scripture is clear that this did NOT come from God, and was NOT part of God’s will. Nor was this part of God’s plan for the campus at Virginia Tech.
Then how could this happen? The same way that God allowed The Tempter to tempt Adam and Eve. The same way that evil takes place everyday around the world. God does not desire that we should sin (as St. Paul also said) but God does not prevent us from sinning. We make choices based on our free-will. God does not treat you like a puppet. God does not force you nor anyone else to commit gross crimes against other innocent human beings. Our God is the God of “every generous act…and every perfect gift”. If things happen even in your lives today that have a negative, bad, or evil impact upon you or your family, this passage says it did not come from God because the events were not good or perfect gifts. James reminds us that “No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God…himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by ONE’S OWN DESIRE, being lured and enticed by it” (James 1:13-14). So, consider these possible ideas and reflect on the cause, and how God might want us to respond.
1. A record number of students were killed in a college campus shooting.
2. The number of teens in foster care has increased by about 200,000 in the last 20 years.
3. About 6 million children under age 12 have been diagnosed with depression and are on medication for it.
4. About one in 12 young people are the victims of violent crime.
5. Recent rates of substance abuse among youth and adults have increased (both prescription and illegal substances).
6. There is a rise in young people and adults who suffer from many types of emotional disturbances and illnesses.
(These six points were the views shared by Dr. Angie Williams who works with youth across the entire state of Virginia.)
Next Monday: Part 2 - What to do.