There is an oppressive darkness that hangs over our country. We have our moments of hope but they are quickly extinguished by the darkness of the human heart. The Winter Olympics offered glimpses of hope. On Valentine’s Day love was celebrated. But, then, in an eye blink, evil tore at the heart of Parkland, Florida. High school students were gunned down. Lives were lost and changed forever. Families will never be whole again. There is no ease for the anguish of the parents who sent their children to school not knowing it would be for the last time.
Ecclesiastes expresses the trauma of human darkness this way:
“Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:
I saw the tears of the oppressed—
and they have no comforter;
power was on the side of their oppressors—
and they have no comforter.”
The message of Ecclesiastes is that there is no earthly comfort for the sin of the human heart, as these words so poignantly express.
What about the horror of Parkland, how can this be stopped from happening again? Authorities, press, and pundits all offer similar answers: change the gun laws, enforce the current gun laws, make new laws, increase school security, increase mental health awareness, offer better counseling for troubled students, such as Nikolas Cruz, and more. All of these are aggressively argued. But each of these individual concerns fail to address the core issue. The darkness of the heart is systemic, a cancer impacting every area life. Without heart change, solutions are temporary at best and bitterly disappointing at worst.
We have come to the place as a nation where God and his Bible have been cast aside in favor of human aspirations and will. We have come to think too much of ourselves and very little of God and his word. John Jay, the first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, said this about the Bible:
“The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”
Such a confession by any current Supreme Court Justice would be seen as grounds for immediate dismissal. But the truth is, as the framers of the Constitution knew so well, man is not designed to live by any law except the Word of the Living God. Our country has exchanged the truth of God for the ever-changing will of humans. My question is, how is that working out for our country?
Our schools teach life has no personal creator, that sexual expression and practice is a sacred individual decision for each person, that the Living Word of God has no place in determining ethical behavior for our students, that human will and aspiration are the ultimate standards to follow. The idea that each person is deeply flawed and hurting from the weight of his own sin is archaic, medieval and bigoted. National prayer for God’s intervention and grace is laughable. Repentance for turning away from God is unthinkable. The idea that we are all accountable to the Lord of the Heaven and Earth is openly mocked.
So evil is confronted with various plans, laws, therapies, medications and programs. Yet, the shootings continue. How is ignoring God and his Bible working out for us?
What about Parkland? What about our country? Pray that God’s people will have the courage to be salt and light. Pray that we will have the courage to offer the gospel as our country’s only hope. Pray that God would rescue us from ourselves and our countless solutions of doing everything but calling on Jesus to heal us.