By Chrystal Knight
Still reeling from the horrific movie theater shootings that recently took place in Aurora, Colorado; many are searching for answers that extend beyond what they can perceive with their natural senses. It’s not unusual during times of great distress, for a birthing or resurgence of faith in God to take place. Church pews fill up, the appointment books of clergy men and women are booked up and inspirational-themed books are grabbed up. However, is this new or renewed sense of faith genuine, or just a knee-jerk reaction to circumstances that leave people feeling out of control and helpless? Pastor Kenneth J. Flowers of Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit answered that question. “Some are sincere, but for others it’s a knee-jerk reaction and they may do it for maybe a few weeks, or a month or so, then they don’t continue. That’s where the pastors and the members and church leaders must intervene. If you see new faces and people coming, or coming back in the aftermath — it becomes our responsibility to reach out to them.”
From another perspective, times of great loss can have an adverse effect on a person’s faith in God, particularly when some seem to miraculously cheat death, while others succumb. For example; a recent story about one of the Aurora shooting victims who survived, is being deemed a miracle. Petra Anderson, 22, was shot multiple times, with one of the bullets entering her nose and traveling to her brain. Initially, doctors gave Anderson a grim prognosis – telling her family that the bullet would probably have a permanent effect on many of her motor skills like speech and memory. However, because of a birth defect in her brain that she did not know she had, the bullet did not do permanent damage. How do you explain the providence of God to those whose loved ones did not survive? Pastor Flowers says there may not be a definite answer at this time, but there is a reason for everything. He explained that there are certain things the Lord will ordain and then there are things He will allow. “God’s perfect will is not for anyone to be killed in a tragic situation, but sometimes it is God’s permissive will — meaning He will permit, or allow things to happen. It could happen to awaken faith in Him — or He may allow it in order for someone’s life to become an example and lead others to Him,” Flowers says.
No one has all of the answers now, as a much quoted verse from the Bible states, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) But in the midst of the grief, shock and disbelief that is gripping our nation in the wake of the Aurora movie theater killings, Pastor Flowers says there is one thing he does know for sure — it’s time for the entire country to stop the bickering and division and come together as a whole to heal.