Following the tragic incidents that occurred in the U.S. these past months, including natural disasters and man-made devastation, Rev. Todd Burpo addressed the question of why God allows such difficulties in people’s lives.
Burpo, who penned the New York Times bestselling book “Heaven Is For Real,” touched on this issue in his latest piece, “God Is For Real: And He Longs to Answer Your Most Difficult Questions.”
"With the shooting that happened in Vegas, the world is stunned by it, they're fixated on it," he told The Gospel Herald. “One of the things that we can't deny is that there's evil in this world. Some people's hearts are just full of evil, and can we do something about that? We, as a country, need to be honest about our adjustment to darkness and how we need the light of Jesus Christ."
Burpo described how prayer and other religious habits have declined in modern society, such as families not praying together and not going to church anymore.
“What we do have is video games that promote violence that have replaced Bible time. Instead of listening to sermons, people turn on the news, where we see violence and terrorism. Gradually, then, our whole society has adjusted to this darkness,” the author explained.
Stephen Paddock, the gunman who opened fire in Las Vegas and killed 59 people while injuring hundreds more at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, gave in to such darkness, Burpo believes.
"People are trying to figure out what went on in his mind, but I would say that something terrible in his life happened where he blamed God for it," the pastor said, while adding: “When you take light of your life and all you have is darkness left, people became capable of committing these atrocities."
Burpo believes it is important to remember that God listens and is present despite experiencing the worst tragedies. He likened current circumstances to Mark 4: 35-41 where Jesus asked his disciples about their faith and was able to calm the storm.
The pastor also believes God is giving a sign to the U.S., wanting to be heard and to help rebuild lives. He may also be reminding people that they have stopped reading the Bible, praying, or going to Church, and there is a great need to come back to doing so.
"God is not only available, He's accessible, and I think that as a country, that's a decision we need to make,” Burpo concluded.