No doubt it’s been a difficult couple of weeks since the bombing at the Boston Marathon. As sad as these tragedies are, it’s always touching to see how events such as these bring out the best in people. The compassion of citizens at the bomb site, the rallying of the city of Boston, the bravery of law enforcement and the prayers and support of a nation are all things we can be proud of. And they all come by way of God’s common grace. But with that said, as I stared at the April 21st edition of the Birmingham News and the lead article entitled Looking for Answers I felt like I’d seen the same headline before.
It just seems that every time tragedy strikes or evil rears its head, we immediately begin to search for answers as to why. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with doing that. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing everything humanly possible to keep events such as what happened in Boston from happening. But from a Christian perspective, what is perplexing, though not surprising is that as a nation, every solution we seek seems only to be a human one. The response to the theatre shooting in Colorado and to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT was for tighter gun laws, as if that in and of itself will stop someone who desires to commit acts of evil. In the case of what happened in Boston the conversation is around immigration policy. Fine, we can search answers to all of those things. Opinions vary as to the best approach to help deal with all of these issues. I have my own. But it seems we pay an extraordinary amount of time dealing with things such as these while neglecting more important things. When perhaps will one of our legislators offer a bill that once again allows prayer in our schools? Why not take up that cause? Are we to believe there haven’t been consequences to its ban? Are we to believe that lives might not have been positively and eternally influenced by welcomed prayer? Are we to believe that there aren’t consequences for our lukewarm consideration of God’s ways in our lives? Are we to think He doesn’t notice how quickly we run to Him in the midst of a tragedy or when evil strikes, only to run away from Him at other times? He notices.
Our primary problems, both as a nation and individually aren’t human problems, they are spiritual ones. Our primary problem is our increasing alienation from God. And our solutions, as hard as we try and as well intentioned as they may be, will never be found in human strength, but only in God’s. Change will only come when we seek solutions that focus on what is inside of us. True change, change that is lasting comes from the inside out. What we need most is not more gun laws, more changes to immigration policy or political posturing to appease interest groups and secure votes. It’s not even more morality that we need. What we need most is the gospel. In a word, we need Jesus.