Events like the Colorado theater shooting aren’t processed in a day, or even a week. Sometimes it takes days for a thought or question to wind its way through the dark channels of your mind and arrive suddenly in the light to demand an answer. One such question might go like this: If the Bible teaches that God ruins the plans of the treacherous (Pr. 22:12, NLT), why didn’t he ruin the plans of the unspeakably treacherous James Holmes?
Consider the following truths:
The book of Proverbs is just that, a book of proverbs. A proverb is a statement that is generally true, but not guaranteed in every situation. For example, Proverbs 19:2 says, “Haste makes mistakes.” Obviously, haste doesn’t always make mistakes, but we should never be surprised when it does. So when a proverb says that God ruins the plans of the treacherous, we can’t expect that he will do it in every case.
We always know what God doesn’t do, but we can’t always see what he does do. That’s counterintuitive, isn’t it? But think about it. We know God didn’t stop James Holmes from opening fire in that theater, but we can’t know how many times he has stopped similar acts from being committed. Haven’t you heard about terrorist attacks being thwarted? Haven’t you heard about criminals who botched their attempts to do evil? Let me just say it right here: Why does God never get the credit when a criminal fails, but he always gets the blame when one succeeds?
God’s purpose will never be thwarted by human plans. Proverbs 19:21 says, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” This simply means that man’s plans may make for some bad days here and there, but they will not hinder the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan for this world. The Colorado shooting, for example, as tragic as it is, will not change the simplest truths of Scripture. Jesus still died for our sins, he is still a risen Savior, and he still offers salvation to everyone, including James Holmes.
God’s thoughts and ways are different from ours. (Isaiah 55:8) For me, this is what life often comes down to. Why does God allow what I would never allow if I were in his shoes? Why doesn’t God stop what I would stop in a heartbeat if I were calling the shots? Here’s what I know: the life of faith is just that, a life of faith. At some point, if I am to be a Christian, I have to accept some things that I do not understand, and this is one of them. I have faith that God knows what he’s doing…that he sees what I can’t and understands what I never will.
I, for one, am comfortable with that. I agree with those who have said it before me: If I could understand everything God thinks and does, he wouldn’t be much of a god.