We wake up, go through the morning routine, and we start preparing our minds for worship. Maybe we have religious songs playing in the background. Maybe we take a few moments of quiet reflection on the worship we are about to engage in. Maybe we pray for clear minds during worship. Maybe we talk with the kids about their memory verses and remind them of how awesome it is to be able to worship the Lord today.
But now all of this is thrown out of whack. Now new thoughts begin entering the minds. Now we begin asking ourselves if we will be safe in worship today? Now we ask ourselves if our congregation prepared for an active shooter? Now we begin asking ourselves what can we really do about all this?
With two tragic cases of church shootings where 27 people have died and 27 others have been wounded, the situation is very discouraging. Sadly, it seems that when situations like this occur, it plants similar evil ideas in other people’s minds (e.g. notice the number of shootings that happened after Columbine). To be honest, I’m scared about this. I’m scared for my family. I’m scared for my congregation. I’m scared for Christians across the globe.
This fear cannot be allowed to cripple us though. Yes, the fear is present to some degree, but so is hope. Perhaps you’re like me or like the several others I’ve talked to. Perhaps you’ve felt some fear and anxiety over the church shootings. Let me share with you three reminders I’ve been telling myself.
Remember Our Past. American Christians have had it pretty easy for some time now. We’ve never really had any serious threats to our religious practices. Sure, we will at times utter the, “Thank you for allowing us to meet here without fear of persecution,” phrase in a prayer. Well, perhaps we’re starting to reach a time where that prayer doesn’t apply. Let’s not fret though. In the past, Christians have almost always had to deal with very serious threats of physical harm and persecution. This is why Jesus was killed (Matthew 27). This is why Jesus warned His apostles of similar treatment (John 15:18-20). This is why Paul could list such a vast repertoire of difficulty (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). This is why our past brethren met secretly in homes. The most serious challenge to our Christianity in the last few hundred years was our freedom (it’s been really easy and unchallenged), but if these threats continue, then the new challenges will arise. We will ask ourselves, “Will I continue to be a Christians even when it potentially threatens my physical life?” Please let the answer be a resounding, “Yes!”
Remember Our Purpose. We are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16). We are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Jesus’ purpose was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). As Christians, our primary purpose is to get ourselves to heaven and get as many others there as we can (Matthew 28:19-20). We certainly can’t lock the doors and keep everyone out (though we may now implement some sort of security measures). The bottom line is, we are here to help people get to heaven. If this means it threatens our lives, so be it. If it means we lose our lives because we’re doing what the Lord asks, so be it.
Remember To Pray. It’s scary to think what the future will hold. Since church shootings are on the radar in evil people’s minds, there is no telling what will occur. It’s scary. Which is all the more reason to pray about it. The Lord is the ultimate protector. The Lord will always deliver vengeance to wrongdoers (Romans 12:19-20). Let’s pray for His protection. Let’s pray for our nation’s leaders to institute laws that make it easier for us to live the Christian life (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Let’s pray that God’s will be done. Let’s thank Him for giving us the hope of heaven, no matter what tragedies the future holds.
It’s fine for us to be a bit scared. But lets by no means allow these fears to paralyze our Christianity. There are still souls to be saved. There is still work to be done. There is still time to labor. If the future proves to be easy, it’s better to live life as a Christian. If the future proves difficult, it’s still better to live life as a Christian. Why? Because our eternal reward is still on the horizon. Heaven is worth any and all persecution the future holds. Let’s keep doing what’s right in God’s sight and let Him deal with the rest.