By Dianne E. Butts:
How can we find God when something as horrific as a movie theater shooting occurs?On July 20, 2012, James Holmes entered a back door of the Century Aurora 16 movie theater and began shooting. When the smoke cleared, twelve were dead, including Alex Sullivan, who turned 27 that day. Fifty-eight were injured, including 18-year-old Bonnie Kate Pourciau. When some survive while others die, how can we find God in the Aurora shootings at “The Dark Knight Rises”?
Large national tragedies always stir conversations on faith. Many people, even Christians, have unanswered questions.
Bonnie Kate Pourciau attended the movie with her friend, Elizabeth Sumrall. Bonnie Kate caught a bullet in the leg. In an article in the Denver Post, Pourciau said:
“‘When I was down on the floor, crouched behind the seats, we were praying, “Lord protect us, keep us safe.” That’s when I felt the big old bang in my leg. I grabbed Elizabeth’s hand. We prayed for God to preserve our lives,’ Pourciau said.”
“And He did! I can wiggle my toes. I still have my leg. The presence of God was overwhelming. God was just holding us in His hands.”
But many people ask, what about those who died that night? Why didn’t God protect them? It’s a fair question—one Christians struggle to answer to the satisfaction of others, although it doesn’t shake our faith.
Even in Jesus’ day, tragedies happened and people asked Him why. Eighteen people died when a tower collapsed. Jesus asked them were they worse sinners than others? He answered: “No! But unless you repent, you will all perish.” He then told a parable about a tree that would not produce fruit. It was given a little more time, but if it remained fruitless it was to be cut down (Luke 13:1-9).
We have a finite number of days on this earth. God knows exactly how many:
“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).
Can an individual interfere with God’s ordained number of days? Can a human cut short a life? That’s an interesting question. Whether the answer is yes or no, God knew that act was coming.
But no human will ever be able to change the big picture of God’s plan. Even when God’s own Son, Jesus, was unjustly on trial for His life, God used evil to accomplish His good plan. (John 11:47-52, 18:12-14, Acts 2:36:39)
And that is why those who know God never cease to believe He is involved and acting for ultimate good. In an interview with the Denver Post, Alex Sullivan’s father, Tom, said:
Bonnie Kate’s friend, Elizabeth Sumrall shared her thoughts in an article by NBC33TV:
“‘Seeing the light coming through, and the things God is doing, you can’t live in the darkness because the light is overcoming the darkness.’
“Now she said it’s time to pray for one more person, the man responsible for the mass murder.
“’We don’t want people to hate him, we want people to pray for him.’”
When tragedy invades our lives, it is the most natural thing to seek answers. For many, seeking those answers leads to God (Matthew 7:7-8). And that is how people find God in a tragedy like the movie theater shooting at “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Bio: © Dianne E. Butts’ new book, Grandparenting through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ, just released August 7, 2012. She wrote Deliver Me (CSPA “Book of the Year” and finalist for the 2012 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year) for those who need to be delivered from the guilt or shame of an unplanned pregnancy—whether in their present or past. www.DeliverMeBook.blogspot.com