By Elizabeth Prata
After the sorrow of Saturday afternoon’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, where after praying and thinking and mourning and pondering, I went to bed. I awoke to news that overnight in Dayton Ohio, another mass shooting had taken place. A man shot up a bar. Ten people were killed and 26 were injured.
All the people killed who went to grab a beer or go buy some crayons for their kid, instantly arrived up in either one of two places. No one expects this day to be their last day. But it always is, at some point.
I read these sad facts on Twitter from a news organization:
Dayton mayor: Gunman wearing body armor used large, high-powered gun with multiple magazines. Death and injury toll from mass shootings attacks in public spaces in past week across the US in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton: At least 34 killed and 71 injured.
7 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history have happened in the last 7 years. With 20 confirmed dead in El Paso, it ranks as the 8th deadliest.
These shootings are happening because God has abandoned America. This isn’t unique to us here in America, it’s happened to every nation in history.
Acts 14:16, the apostle Paul said, “In the generations gone by, He” – God – “permitted all the nations to go their own way.” This is the story of history. All the nations of history go their own way. So like the nations of old, like the nations past, we follow the same cycle of having the truth, rejecting the truth and being abandoned by God. John MacArthur
In 2006 MacArthur delivered the sermon I’d quoted above, titled “When God Abandons a Nation.” I found it helpful then and I found it helpful this week. It explains the process from Romans 1 when “God has abandoned America to the effects of its sinful choices.”
This abandoning act on God’s part is the removal of restraining grace. He gives over a society to the their sinful wants, which only further depraves the mind and makes it futile. He explained here,
What is a depraved mind? Well, the word literally means tested and found useless, disqualified for its intended purpose, a non-functioning mind. Reasoning is so corrupted that it is crippled. The faculty, the intellectual faculty can no longer function. The moral law of God written in the heart has been literally stomped and replaced with cultural immorality. The conscience cannot function.
And so, says verse 28, they do the “things which are not proper,” not moral. So immorality goes in every direction and now you can’t find your way back because the mind is so corrupt. People don’t think right. People’s brains don’t follow the paths that they should.
They arm themselves and go into a public space and shoot people, children, and babies. No one in their right mind would ever do that. But these people are not in their right mind, they have been given over. Our nation as a whole has been given over, en masse.
Sadly, that means you never know if, when you’re happily shopping for school supplies at Target with your kids or attending a SEC football game with your husband or enjoying Shakespeare in the Park with your date and suddenly a mass shooting will happen.
Public spaces are some of the most dangerous places you can go these days. They will happen more frequently, as the statistic above shows. 7 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history have happened in the last 7 years. As God has given us over, the minds that are darkened in sin will deepen in their inability to find conscience, and we whose minds are full of His light will be subject to their depraved choices. That depravity shows itself in gunmen and murder and riots and moral chaos.
I’m sorry the news from here isn’t happier. But in a way it is happier. The more depraved the nation becomes the more it’s obvious we are progressing along exactly as God said we would in Romans 1 down the path of “no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” (Romans 1:31b). Sin that has long been contained in a depraved thinker’s mind is now showing itself. Their inner pollution is worn as an external robe of corrupt unrighteousness, showing itself in all its inky sump.
Be ready, sisters, with scripture, with confidence, with patience for those among you and me who do not know Jesus. Their sinful mind will only sink lower and lower. We can and should share the light, in hopes that some, as we go through life in a nation abandoned by God, will repent and believe.