1. You Believe that This World is a Safe Place
Many of us were shocked at the terrible events in Texas last week as a disturbed and angry man assaulted a church near San Antonio killing many during a worship service. We should be surprised that this doesn’t happen more often! If we believe that this world is a safe place, then we will not be prepared in our hearts when the curse of sin and brokenness shows up in the headlines a well as in our own personal lives. If we are not acknowledging the promises of Jesus that we will have trouble in this world, that there is a real enemy of the church, and that the human heart is desperately wicked, then we will be caught off guard and be unprepared for the reality of horrible events. We don’t like to think about death, but we all ought to at least have a real honest assessment of its presence. Because it is a reality for every single person alive today.
2. You Believe that This is the Best Life You Will Ever Live
Fear comes from some sense of potential or future loss. Is it loss of comfort? Loss of years? Loss of things you want to accomplish? If we believe that this life is all there really is, then death is the ultimate robber. It steals without any retribution. Death is an injustice that will never be rectified. But if there is another life beyond the grave, then we have nothing to fear in this life. If the promise of Jesus stands and he will return to bring with him those who have died in Him . . . If there is an eternal kingdom without sin, pain, death, suffering, or weeping, then all that is before the people of God is an outstretched kingdom of delight and joy.
3. You Lack Confidence that God is in Control
I trust that everything that God sends my way will also come with the necessary grace to sustain me in the midst of it. Nobody will be able to press outside of the margins of His grace toward His people. Gunmen with lots of ammo cannot kill me enough to remove me from the grace of God in Christ. But if you lack confidence that God is sovereign, gracious, and in control enough to see you through whatever may come. Then I would invite you to fear whatever the future may hold.
4. You Think that Pain Will Win
In reality, many fear a gunman because we fear pain. Nobody wants to suffer. But I need to remind myself that pain will not have the final word. God is able to sustain me in whatever comes my way. And pain gives way to new life.
5. You Forgot that Justice is in the Hands of God
Lastly, I suggest that you freak-out if you forgot that there is a just God who will audit all accounts and reconcile every deed done in the flesh. The man who did these terrible things will never face justice. He will never be tried by a jury. He will never face the inside of prison cell. He will never be able to see the tears of those who lost loved ones at his hand. But he will face a Holy God. He will face the one who said, “the one who destroys my temple, Him will I destroy” (using “temple” as a metaphor for the church). Without a belief in God I would be moved to freak out, because of the absence of ANY HOPE OF JUSTICE. But there will be justice, even as it is the Lord Himself who has said, “Vengeance is mine”.