“It has happened again.” Those are the words that I wrote more than five years ago during our Sunday Night worship service after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary located in Newtown, Connecticut. Since December 2012 I counted 114 shootings on a school or college campus in the United States.  Those shootings have left 210 students dead. I didn’t count the injuries. Hundreds.
Well, it has happened again. Yesterday, February 14, 2018. In Parkland, FL. Seventeen students dead. Dozens more injured.
This has become a too often occurrence. And it’s not just in schools and college campuses. It is a nation-wide epidemic. I counted by hand the number of shootings and deaths from a Wikipedia article. But there are people who keep track of this sort of thing. One group is the Gun Violence Archive. They have been tracking gun violence in the United States since 2013. According to their research, there have been 58,582 people killed by guns in America since 2014. That’s more than 14,000 people a year. That is about the size of the county I live in.
Why did this happen, again? Who is to blame? What should be our response as Christians? It is our human nature to want to blame someone for something so tragic. I saw online one pastor who asked if the NRA was prepared to deal with the repercussions and mental well-being of the children involved. Others are calling for stricter gun regulations and tighter school security protocols. No doubt the issue of mental illness will be discussed with the perpetrator of this terrible deed. But will we ever agree on what constitutes a strict-enough law on guns? Or what is the best method of protecting our children in school? Or what doesn’t violate our constitutional right to bear arms?
Still others are blaming schools and parents. That if we taught our children about the sanctity of life and respect for people, then incidents like this wouldn’t happen anymore. And I do think that is true to an extent. We have removed prayer from schools. We have removed the 10 commandments from schools. We have taught Darwinian evolution in schools as fact; that we come from animals and there is no significant value in life since we are only here by random occurrences anyway.
But, I have to wonder, do other countries do a better job of teaching their children about the sanctity of life than we do? Do other countries pray every morning and have the 10 commandments displayed in their classrooms? I don’t think so. So why aren’t other countries having this problem?
One study shows that between 2000-2014 the United States had 133 public mass shootings where multiple people were injured, excluding gang violence and terrorism. But, in that same time period, Germany, Canada, Finland, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, England and France had a combined total of 17. 
Are those countries really better at teaching and raising their children than we are? If so, then we have even a bigger problem on our hands.
I think, as Christians, we must understand that the overarching reason this happened is because of sin. Sin and sin alone is to blame. Yes, this young man pulled the trigger, but sin was the cause.
Ever since Genesis 3 man has been in a war with sin and the author of sin, the adversary, the devil. If we look closely at Genesis 3 we notice not only did the serpent tempt Adam and Eve into sinning, but we also see an ulterior motive, to annihilate the human race and any chance of redemption. But notice what God promises the serpent in chapter 3 verse 15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. This promise of a deliverer thwarted the devils plans and he has been waging war against the seed of Adam ever since.
In Revelation 12 Jesus showed the picture of a woman giving birth to a child, with a dragon crouching before her to devour the baby (Rev. 12:4). When the woman and her child escaped, scripture says in Rev. 12:17 that the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. The dragon has been doing exactly that ever since.
Ephesians 2:2 says that the course of this world is ruled by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. It is clear that Satan hates children. That is why Pharaoh slaughtered scores of innocent Hebrew children in the time of Moses. It is also why the Israelites were in danger of turning to worship the false god Moloch, the blood-thirsty deity who demanded his followers to sacrifice the lives of their children as an act of worship. The valley of this atrocity was called Gehenna, the very place that Jesus pointed to when he described Hell.
It is also why Herod decreed the death of all infant boys in the days that Jesus was born. It is clear, Satan hates children and his Hell-bent on seeing every child of God dead. Jesus Himself says in John 8:44 that the devil is the author of all murders. It is true, we do not battle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers.
But ultimately, here is my bigger problem: why do we keep giving sinful people, who we know are influenced by the sinful desires of their heart, such easy access to killing machines? How is it so easy to get a gun? Why does it keep happening over and over and over again?
When my kids abuse or misuse something, I take it away. Maybe not the first time. But certainly after the second or third time. Most certainly after the hundred? The thousandth? Why do we keep turning a blind eye? Why do we keep offering thoughts and prayers instead of actually doing something?
I know I live in the part of the country that loves their guns. I am not anti-gun. I am anti-sin. And I am anti-children being killed. I love my kids and the children of this country more than I love guns.
What then shall we do? As Christians, we have the responsibility bear each other’s burdens and to mourn with the mourning. We also have the responsibility to pray.
What can we pray for? We can pray for protection for our children, our teachers and our schools. We can pray for the lost and dying world. That people will come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and change the way they think and act. But ultimately, we only have one prayer, that is the one Jesus taught his followers to pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” That is the only remedy. That is the only cure. Until Christ comes back our world will be cursed with famine, disease, war and yes, school shootings. What we need is Jesus. This world needs Jesus. Our cry should be that like the last words in the New Testament, “Come Lord Jesus.”
In closing, I would like to share with you the words that Al Mohler wrote soon after the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012.
The prophet Jeremiah’s reference to Rachel and her lost children is heart-breaking. “Thus says the LORD: ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.’” (Jeremiah 31:15) Like Rachel, many parents, grandparents, and loved ones are weeping inconsolably even now, refusing to be comforted for their children, because they are no more.
But this is not where Jeremiah leaves us. By God’s mercy, there is hope and the promise of full restoration in Christ.
The Lord continued to speak through Jeremiah; in verses 16 and 17 of the same chapter it says this:
Thus says the LORD: “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country.” (Jeremiah 31:16-17)
God, not the murderer, has the last word. For those in Christ, there is the promise of full restoration. Even in the face of such unmitigated horror, there is hope. “There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to your own country.”