I’m not a huge “gun” guy. Okay, I said it. And every member of my congregation just unfriended me on Facebook. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am NOT “anti-gun.” Not at all. I believe firmly in the constitutional right to bear arms (how far someone can go and still possess “arms” and what someone has to do in order to lose that liberty are up for debate). I may even one day own a gun (not planning on it, but you never know). I have been shooting with friends from church and really enjoy it. I could probably even bring myself to shoot some sort of animal…I just don’t know that I could gut it and clean it.
So I’m not a big gun guy. And this is not a really good time in America’s history to not have a stash of guns. It seems like every day there’s another shooting, stabbing, beheading, assault, etc within our borders. I feel less safe today living in rural Indiana than I did growing up just outside Washington, DC. I take biblical stands on every issue the text speaks clearly on. My worry at night isn’t that the police will one day place me under arrest (I’ve almost resigned myself to that eventually being the norm), but that some disgruntled person will enter a worship service and harm myself or my family or my flock.
But what’s the answer? I have great respect for guys who own guns and know how to use them. I think churches must take security seriously. Churches must take the security and privacy of their pastors seriously (the sermon time is an extraordinarily vulnerable time for pastors and other preachers, and because many churches still have a parsonage, anyone can find out where the pastor lives without even doing a Google search). There are common sense precautions we should take. But I came across a gentle reminder the other day in my Bible reading of where I find true safety.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
David regularly cried out to God because of trouble he found himself in. He cried out to God when he felt alone. He cried out to God when he felt threatened. He cried out to God when he felt unsafe. And what did God do? He does what is consistent with His good character and nature. He gives peace. He gives hope. He gives security. He gives safety. Does that mean that bad things never happen? Of course not! Christians are being killed all over the world. Does that mean that God has failed? Not at all! God has never promised an easy life, or even a life free from pain, injury, or attack. Instead, He assures us that He is in control. He is over everything. Nothing happens that He does not either cause or allow. And it all happens for His purposes. Even the wicked and evil that we see around us. God didn’t do that. He can’t sin or be tempted by sin. But while He has allowed mankind to run headlong into rebellion against Him (how’s that working out for the world?), He continues to weave even the evil in the world into a plan that has a purpose for each of us. A role for all of us to play, and an ultimate ending that brings Him glory and fulfills His mission for our lives.
So, for those who know Christ. For those who walk with God. Sleep in peace tonight. Not because of the AR-15 in the gun cabinet or the magnum you keep under your bed. Sleep in peace because Someone is watching over you who will only allow evil to happen if it is designed to advance His purposes for your life and to bring glory to His perfect self. When I remind myself of these truths, I sleep a little better, knowing that my safety and the safety of my family rests in the hands of One Who is in complete control AND Who is always good.