“In all their troubles, he was troubled, too” (Is. 63:9).
“The work of the prophets in ancient Israel was to deliver a truth-telling, hope-evoking word in a society that wanted neither the truth that was too hard to bear nor hope that was impossible to entertain.” —Walter Brueggemann, Tenacious Solidarity, Biblical Provocations on Race, Religion, Climate, and the Economy.
In my last post I shared some thoughts on the evils of racism that has plagued America since it founding over 200 years ago. Before I could continue on this subject another shooting occurred in Uvalde, Texas. The police made the “wrong decision” by failing to storm a primary school classroom resulting in the death of 21 children and two teachers says the DPS Director. An 11 year old girl smeared blood on herself and played dead for fear the gunman would come back for her. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he was ‘misled’ about the Uvalde shooting police response. While the shooting was not racially motivated it again raises the issue of gun violence in America.
In 2017 through prayer, several prophetic voices and confirmation via presbytery leaders it was confirmed that I have a prophetic calling directed towards justice. As I searched for greater understanding Holy Spirit led me on a spiritual journey to study the topic of Biblical justice through the Old Testament prophets. God is just and He is perfectly righteous in His treatment of His creatures. His justice is fair and equitable. He shows no partiality (Acts 10:34).
Most Americans can recognize from watching or listening to the news on social media or TV that the most salient cultural and political issues dividing this nation is immigration reform, racial injustice, mass shootings, gun control, climate change, abortion, redefinition of ‘marriage” and “the family”, transgender rights, and so forth. Ten days after the horrific shooting at a local Buffalo, NY grocery store killing 10 people another shooting took place at the elementary school in Uvalde, TX killing 19 children and 2 adults. As of this writing there have been at been more than 250 mass shootings this year in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The most recent in a local church in Alabama. This has become all to common in America.
America has a long history of school shootings. According to Statista as of May 2022, there were 119 school shootings in total in the United States in that year. Of these incidents, only one was an active shooter incident. The largest number of active shooter incidents in schools was in 2018, with 11 active shooters. The source defines a shooting as any time a gun is brandished, fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason.1 Sandy Hook Promise site states that the U.S. has had 2,032 school shootings since 1970 and these numbers are increasing. Alarmingly, 948 school shootings have taken place since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.2
I can’t begin to imagine what the children, parents, teachers and community in Uvalde must be going through. My prayers and tears go up daily for them as I lament over this tragic and unnecessary loss of innocent lives. According to the Texas Tribune, a day after the school shooting, Uvalde’s tight-knit community prays, donates blood and grieves.3
Scripture is clear that God is troubled when any of his children are troubled. God sympathizes with us in all our trials, and He is ever ready to aid us. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. As a parent who has lost a child I understand the grief many families are experiencing in this difficult time. My heart aches because their loss is my loss. Parents and siblings have to learn to live with grief and cope with family, work and the rest of life all while grieving the loss of a loved one. One thing I know for sure, God is truly close to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Ps. 34:18).
Guns are deeply ingrained in American society and the nation’s political debates. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and about a third of U.S. adults say they personally own a gun. Many states now have open carry laws which allows gun owners to legally possess a firearm, to openly carry a gun without a permit or license. This makes me think of the wild wild west. Why was it called the Wild West? The Wild West, also known as the Old West or the American Frontier, refers to the geography, history, folklore, and cultural expression of the western United States during its frontier period. The Wild West was given its name for the lawlessness of the territories west of the Mississippi River.3
The Bible speaks of a time where lawlessness will abound. To be lawless is to be contrary to the law or to act without regard to the law. Laws are necessary in a sinful world (1 Tim,.1:9), and those who choose to act lawlessly further sin in the world. The word for “lawlessness” in the Bible is often translated “iniquity.” According to the Bible, the root of all lawlessness is rebellion.
The issue of guns in America cause people in other parts of the developed world to look at our country and shake their heads. They don’t understand why Americans have such a passion for their guns. They don’t understand why gun control is such a contentious issue. Most of all they don’t understand how America can tolerate the chronic carnage of deaths and injury.
God’s heart is grieved by the inaction of those who have the authority to bring about change but choose to do nothing but offer prayers and condolences. It was never supposed to be this way. Prayers and condolences are good, but scripture also says in Proverbs 3:27-28, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it to you,”
We deceive ourselves that things will change or get better on their own or this is not a political or gun rights issue, its a mental health issue. I don’t believe a God whose throne is founded upon righteousness and justice sees it this way.
The Lord’s anger burned against Israel because the nation transgressed His covenant which He commanded their fathers and did not listened to His voice. He tested them to whether they would keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, or not (Judg. 2:20-23). I’m reminded of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis. Can killed the Abel, ”And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground’” (Gen. 4:10). This is the Lord’s response when the murderer denies knowing where his brother is and asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
God hates the shedding of innocent blood. The blood of the innocent is crying out for justice. God is the same yesterday, today and forevermore.
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Prov, 6:16-19).
“‘Where in God’s name is our backbone?’ ”President Joe Biden
“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place” (Jer. 22:3).
Pray for spiritual awakening in America and abroad!
In His Service,
Minister A. Francine Green
Notes: All scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.
1. Number of K-12 school shootings in the United States from 1970 to May 2022, by active shooter status, https://www.statista.com/statistics/971473/number-k-12-school-shootings-us/
2. 16 Facts About Gun Violence And School Shootings, https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/blog/gun-violence/16-facts-about-gun-violence-and-school
3. Befferman, Jason, Douglas, Erin. A day after school shooting, Uvalde’s tight-knit community prays, donates blood and grieves. https://www.texastribune.org/2022/05/25/uvalde-texas-school-shooting-community/. 25 May. 2022.
4. World Population Review. Wild West States.https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/wild-west-states. Accessed 28 May 2022.
5. Pruitt, Sarah. George Washington Warned Against Political Infighting in His Farewell Address. History.com. 18 Feb. 2020. https://www.history.com/news/george-washington-farewell-address-warnings. Accessed 16 May 2022.