Should any of us be surprised by the June 11th shooting in Orlando that left 49 people dead?
I’m not. Sad, frustrated, and angry, yes. But not surprised.
That’s partly because these deplorable incidents are so common around our world today. More than this, it’s because Jesus very aptly warned, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6).
What does surprise me is the amazing fact that God has not yet come in blazing, holy fury to righteously judge and destroy America (indeed, the whole world) because we all naturally love the darkness and reek with wanton sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissentions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.1 Paying to slaughter over 53 million of our own innocent, defenseless, unborn, American babies by legalized abortion since 1973 is just one of countless grotesque reason for our damnable state.
What surprises me most, though, is that God hasn’t judged and condemned me for my constant battle with idolatry of many kinds, my vain self-reliance, my struggle to believe and rest in His mercy in Christ, my prideful arrogance, my petty judgmentalism, my shrinking of His glory, my slowness to love, my lack of gratitude to Him for all His amazing gifts (most supremely, Himself), and things like these.
Yep. That’s what surprises me most. And by His grace, I think my surprise is the kind of surprise Jesus invites in Luke 13:1-5, when a group asks Jesus to interpret Pilate’s murder of some Galileans while they were worshipping. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Ah, Jesus surprising response to the question of terrorism displaces improper surprisewith proper surprise – surprise over our own personal guilt and surprise over His opulent offer of forgiveness through repentance and faith in Him as Lord and Savior despite our guilt.
Actually, I would not be surprised if my readers, even my Christian readers, are surprisedby my sharing the things that do and do not surprise me. I wonder, my dear reader, what surprises you. I wonder if you’ll join me in being surprised by the most surprising things. I wonder if you’ll join me in repenting and believing the surprising Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and receive His unending mercy, total forgiveness, warm affection, lavish love, and eternal hope.
Because of God’s great mercy offered to us in Christ, I would not be surprised if you did.
1 This list is directly quoted from Galatians 5:19-21. See also John 3:19, 9:39, and 16:8.