Last week's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. is still very much in the news, if for no other reason than people are trying to figure out how to keep that from happening again. Such things as re-instituting a ban on assault weapons, obliging teachers to be armed and even "returning God" to public schools have been proposed.
What should be obvious to us Christians is that, since we live in a world full of evil, things like this happen and all the security in the world won't change that. However, it isn't obvious because too many of us have a worldly mentality in that we think that we should sail through life without any serious difficulty -- massacres happen only to them.
More to the point, it seems to me that too many believers have forgotten that there is an invisible war going on all around us. We may pay lip service to that from time to time but don't have a handle on its full import, which is why we offer simple political and cultural solutions to what is, ultimately, a spiritual problem.
Which may get you to thinking: If we had a return to Godly principles or even if people had converted to Christianity, could this have been averted? Wrong question. One parent of a victim who had moved to Newtown from the New York City area said they had done so because they thought it was "safer." I don't claim to know the spiritual condition of that parent, but if that person were really following God he or she might not have moved to that town in the first place. (Recall in Genesis that Lot had moved to Sodom because it was a wealthy place and he thought he could make money there.)
Indeed, I've noticed that the majority of these recent massacres since Columbine High School in 1999 have taken place in "safe," upper-middle-class areas, not the 'hoods that are considered cisterns for violence. That was even the case here in Pittsburgh, which saw two in 2009, with one young man mowing down three city policeman in April and a middle-aged man spraying gunfire at during a women's fitness class at a suburban shopping mall in August.
I think it would be more appropriate to focus not on the actual tragedy but the aftermath of such -- what God does in response. Most of us have experienced bad situations where He in His perfect timing had to intervene and did. As John Eldredge once said, "God loves to come through." So while we wait and grieve with those who have suffered loss and violence, we also know that God will come out of it.
That can't happen, however, if we try to escape it.