Today, on October 1st, 2015, a school shooting has taken place at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. According to reports, thirteen people were killed and twenty others were wounded. This shooting is a tragedy. As a country, we are seeing millions of people rally together as they mourn and pray for the families affected by the shooting. I don’t know why these types of things happen or what would compel someone to do such a violent and heinous crime. Obama responded to this situation by saying we need stricter gun control. While he may be right, there is a bigger issue that must be addressed.
America has cultivated a mentality that says “I’ll call you when I need you.” We live our lives in a way that says we are in control. Then something tragic happens and we are reminded we have very little control over our lives. When we are reminded of this, we call to God for His help. The school shooting at Umpqua Community College is a tragedy. It is also a tragedy to see America rally together with morning and prayer. You may be shaking your head at that statement, but hear me out.
Every time something tragic happens to our country, we rally together. For instance, take this shooting. After it happened, the entire country looked at the situation and then looked to God in prayer. The reason it’s tragic to see America rally together is because it shouldn’t take a horrific even for us to realize our need for God. Our prayers for this shooting should not be the start of a prayer life; they should be a continuation of a committed prayer life. In other words, we shouldn’t neglect God until something terrible happens. We have a country that tells God, “I’ll call you when I need you.” Then when something like this happens, we go from not praying at all to praying all the time. This event shouldn’t change how much we pray as a nation, it should only give more detail to our prayers.
When we see tragedies like this, we are seeing a country that reflects its values. If behavior is an outflowing of the heart, tragedies like this are an outflowing of the heart of America. We wonder why these things happen, yet we only call on God when we need Him. We push God out America and wonder why our country reflects a Godless nation. This rally cry should not be in response to an event. We should already be rallied together as a nation in response to the condition of our country.
This school shooting isn’t the only thing wrong with our country. Slavery, racism, murder, greed and pride are just a few other things wrong with our country. We should constantly be praying against evil and praying that God will change the hearts of His people. We should be committed to praying for our country on a daily basis, not just when something tragic happens. Don’t call on God only when you think you need Him; call on God always because you always need Him.
Let us not be a country that only calls on God when we need Him. Don’t let tragedies like this shooting rally us together. The reality of our depravity should rally us together each and every moment. We should constantly be praying: “God, we realize tragic events reveal the condition of our country. Help us realize our need for you. Be with our country and help us be people who make a difference as we focus our lives on you.”
Don’t let this school shooting create another rally where we mourn and pray for a mere moment and then forget it ever happened. More tragedies will come and go. Let it spark in our hearts a desire to commit to prayer. Events like this shouldn’t be the beginning of a prayer life; they should become part of a continued and committed prayer life.
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).