When Bad Things Happen in Our Schools
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and now Parkland, Florida. As of this writing, there have already been eighteen school shootings in less than two months of 2018. Tragedies like these leave us feeling unsettled and looking for answers. We have questions like: Why did this have to happen? Where did we go wrong? How could a loving God allow something like this to happen? Is there something missing in the equation, i.e. gun control or better security?
There is something missing from our schools these days, or rather, someone--someone bigger than metal detectors and gun control.
Prior to 1962, it was accepted practice for schools to open with prayer and reading of the Holy Bible. In 1962, Engel v. Vitale, brought by five parents in Long Island, New York, made it unlawful to recite the Regents' Prayer, saying it constituted the establishment of state-sponsored religion and violated First Amendment rights via the Fourteenth Amendment.
In 1963, Abington School District v. Schempp made public school-sponsored reading of the Holy Bible and other religious activities unlawful. Yet, at this time, these practices were so ingrained in our culture, there was little enforcement. We still had the Ten Commandments posted in many schools and courthouses across the country at this time.
Murray v. Corlett, also in 1963, served to make daily reading of the Holy Bible and The Lord's Prayer unlawful. This lawsuit was widely publicized as Madalyn Murray (O'Hair, nee Mays), an Atheist, was very vocal in her protest. She later became a Christian, having deep regret for her actions.
1971's Lemon v. Kurtzman established the Lemon Test for religious activities that could and could not be conducted in schools. Then, in the early 2000s, several Texas lawsuits further served to squeeze God out of our schools
I don't have all of the answers, but there are a few things I do know. I know that evil is not a person, even though people do evil things. I know that God is love, and that He loves us so much that He does not impose Himself on anyone. He gives us a free will to choose whether to do good or to do evil. He is a gentleman, and cares not to force His way in when He has been forced out. I believe we need to ask Him to come back in--not just into our schools, but into our courts, our workplaces, our families, our lives.2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."
When we take that moment to turn back to our Heavenly Father, He longs to pour out his unfailing love, compassion and redemption on us, to restore us, to restore our schools. God loves us so much that He finds a way to make something good, something beautiful out of every bad thing that happens, and He will do that with Parkland, too.
Romans 12:12 tells us to, "Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying."
Won't you join me in doing just that?