No doubt my response to the past week’s senseless violence in the States and Canada is much the same as any individual’s: shock and horror. A graphic video from Edmonton shows a young man run over and then stab a police officer repeatedly. That this brutality has occurred in my home province seems too unreal to believe. Thankfully, the officer and the other four victims this man careened into with a van, are recovering in hospital. Still, it is disturbing that even in our seemingly peaceful land, we are not immune to radicalized terrorism.
On Sunday, a deranged man, opened fire on a crowd of people gathered in Las Vegas to hear a country music concert. He fired nearly a thousand rounds from semi-automatic rifles from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and killed 58 and left over 500 people wounded. It is the single largest mass shooting in American history…for now. No one truly understands why someone would perpetrate such a heinous crime, but perhaps President Trump said it best, that the shooting was “an act of pure evil“.
Whenever tragedy strikes, we ask whether or not this could have been prevented. Certainly, there will be many professionals, politicians, celebrities and many, many more who will be outspoken in their opinions. The sad and universal truth is that no matter what authorities do to try to prevent shootings and acts of terrorism from happening, evil will not be thwarted by OUR doings. Only God can prevail against evil.
A question posed on Twitter forced me to respond.
In a country as deeply divided on gun control and the right to bear arms as the U.S., this question cannot be easily answered using 140 characters on Twitter! I am adamantly opposed to civilians, being able to purchase a firearm (rifle or handgun) that fires in bursts multiple rounds of ammunition with the pull of a trigger. Those types of weapons should be for military use only. Having said that, I truly think that most gun owners in the States and Canada are responsible, law-abiding citizens, who carry licenses and have been trained in the safety and handling of their weapons. The point I’m making is that those responsible gun owners: hunters, gun enthusiasts, and home owners, who feel the need to protect themselves and their property by owning a gun, do not have need for a weapon that fires dozens of rounds of ammo in seconds! Am I right?
Unfortunately because “pure evil” seems to be the motivator in these acts of violence, if a person is set on shooting someone, or purposely running into a crowd of people with a vehicle, chances are that person will find the means to do so regardless of any imposed gun control or any other security restrictions. Limiting a lunatic’s access to guns that only fire one or two rounds before needing to be reloaded, may cut down on the numbers of victims but it does not negate the agony and heartache to the victims or the families and friends impacted by these acts of pure evil.
There has been much negative conversation on social media about those who are “praying” for the victims and families as if that activity is useless in itself. Jimmy Kimmel, late-night talk show host said, “”Your thoughts and prayers are insufficient.” and went on to expound on the need for gun control legislation and called out politicians and others who opposed it. Then he made an interesting observation: “It feels like someone has opened a window into hell,” he said.
I do agree that a window to hell has been opened, it has in fact been opened since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Up to that point, man and woman walked in close fellowship with God. Their disobedience caused a separation from God and sin was loosed upon the world. “Pure Evil” in all its forms has plagued man ever since, but the most effective means given to us to thwart the plans of “pure evil” is ongoing and persistent PRAYER. Any nation that chooses to ignore God, abandon Biblical values, and persist in rebellion against God will suffer the wrath of “pure evil” because no one is standing in the gap against it. Bible-believing prayer warriors know that we are in a spiritual battle with the enemy (Satan) everyday, knowing that he “prowls around like a roaring lion, waiting for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8
The fact is that wickedness is running rampant in our two countries and around the world because we have abandoned God and allowed all manner of sin and evil to corrupt us so we may propagate more evil. We fail to acknowledge that there is only One Who can completely and utterly destroy pure evil…God! “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” 1 John 3:8
Jesus can change the hearts and minds of all peoples to live in peaceful harmony with one another. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 THAT is what we should be praying for! Pray that all peoples would come to salvation through Christ, become disciples, and then join Him to make more disciples, by submitting to the authority of God. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Only when people turn from the wicked ways and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, will we see these acts of pure evil lessen and eventually stop altogether. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 1 Chronicles 7:14
Keep praying! It is our greatest weapon against evil. It is not insufficient, or insignificant. It is life changing! When we pray in faith, scripture tells us that whatever we pray for will come to pass. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
Pray for peace, pray for unity, pray for revival! Only through prayer will we see “pure evil” defeated once and for all!
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:15-18