Some Thoughts on God and Las Vegas

This has been a difficult few months for our country, to say the least. So many are struggling with loss and grief and we must be faithful to pray for them and help and give where we can. In these days, our nation and people are depending, and perhaps even surviving, on the prayers of Christ’s Church, calling out for God’s grace in a way similar to that of Abraham for Sodom.

We certainly want to pray for His mercy and presence to be near those affected by this tragic event in Las Vegas on Sunday evening. In fact, we must pray, even though we’ll not see, this side of Heaven, all the ways God will work in response to our prayers.

As we have followed the news reports about this event, and listened to the wondering and questions being asked regarding “How did this happen?” I’ve noticed that, as usual, the spiritual element is largely ignored. I would suggest to you, though, that the spiritual element represents the very center point of this event.

Nearly all the news reports and commentary about this event, and other events like it, make the same core mistake, which is to make the assumption and assertion that people are “good at heart.” Thus, the question is asked over and over again, “What makes good people do things like this?”

Friends, God says something different about inherent human goodness. God says we’re not “good at heart.” This is the central issue in this kind of tragedy.

Human beings are created in God’s image, but because of sin, that image has become terribly marred and disfigured. The truth is, not one of us is “good at heart.” To one degree or another, there is something rotten in our core. This has always been the orthodox Christian position, though it’s not a popular one in our culture.

Any goodness that we experience in this world comes, in one way or another, from God, and herein lies the problem. Our society is increasingly denying God – denying His existence, denying any need we have for Him or for redemption, transformation, or forgiveness. We are not teaching our children about God. Consequently, we are, slowly but surely, as a culture, ceasing to value what He values…things like life, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, work, integrity and a hundred other truly good things.

As we push God out of our culture, so will good be pushed out. That’s not our intent, but it is the result. We don’t like to admit this as a nation, but the fact is, we need God in order to be good. Without Him, we, individually and collectively, become what sin always makes people when given full reign: selfish, self-interested and brutish…individuals who will do only what will benefit themselves.

In Las Vegas, why were some people willing to risk their lives to save others, while others ran from the shooting in fear? I submit that, in the lives of those who were willing to give of themselves for others, somewhere in their present or relatively recent past, there has been a Godly influence. Either they, their parents or grandparents lived and taught them the ways and values of God, which, thankfully, do not disappear from a family or culture quickly.

But we must understand that they do disappear over time.

Our society is surviving right now on the godly remnant of the present and on the coat-tails – the enduring influences – of our predominantly godly past. And God’s coat-tails are long, but they are not eternal.

The only solution to our nation’s problems lies in a renewed interest in, and passion for, Jesus Christ and His ways and His word. We work and we pray and we live as Christ wherever we are, but as we do, His Church must understand that without Him and a new love for Him, there is no goodness ahead for our land and people. ~Pastor Daryl