After Florida School Shooting, Every Parent Must Make a Key Decision
Too many people have robbed their children of the ability or the opportunity to pray — today, they need it more than ever
Because of the shooting this afternoon in Florida, we will hear, again, endless fighting over gun control.
And it will get our country nowhere. Why? Because the real problem behind this massacre or any massacre in this country is a problem no one wants to confront. It is evil. We refuse to discuss or acknowledge it because when we do, we’re forced to talk about the only antidote: God.
And He, of course, is a taboo topic.
But we must discuss evil because we all confront it and many simply don’t know what in the world to do with it when we stare it in the eyes.
As a pediatrician, a mother, a grandmother and an ardent believer of God and the mercy of Christ, let me take a go at it.
Each of us knows there are those among us who harbor unspeakable darkness. Men and women steal children for sex trades; ISIS spends millions of dollars and years of preparation to figure out how to wipe out as many infidels as possible. Random passersby walk up to a policewoman and shoot her in cold blood. The darkness is palpable in our cities, our country, and in the very small worlds in which each of us lives.
We can scream about weapons and get rid of every last one, but evil will remain. The problem with evil is that it doesn’t have a voice, a shape or even a name. It moves among us, rearing its head randomly and without warning. It seems to be, well, spiritual in nature — we can’t capture it and put it behind bars. That’s what is so infuriating about it. It eludes us. We can’t anticipate it or find it when it is buried beneath a mass of clothing, a kind voice, a business model, and even when it lies within us. So what are we to do?
Because evil is both physical in nature (madmen shoot people), mental (kids get cyberbullied) and spiritual (demonic and invisible), we must confront it on all levels. We will fight about stopping it physically, but that will leave us frustrated and extremely limited. We can fight it mentally by helping ourselves and children identify mental anguish and unravelling it. But what do we do to fight it spiritually? That my friends, is the sticky pain point.
The only way to combat evil is to acknowledge the reality of God and recruit His help. But many of us won't do this because we have collectively pushed God out of our homes, our schools, our government, even our churches — proclaiming that He is neither real nor interested in us. We fail to teach our children to pray. We fail to take our kids to church or temple because many simply don't want their kids to feel like the odd kid in the class.
But let's look at where these actions leave us and our precious kids — helpless and unarmed, that's where.
When the bullets rained down on the backs, shoulders and heads of the poor folks below the madman's hotel room last week, do you think any of them prayed? You bet they did.
Because evil enveloped them. Nothing would help them but God. And many, I believe, cried out to Him and He heard their cries. And yes, I believe He heard the cries of those who died and He swept them up in His arms. God is present everywhere. And God is the only antidote we have to evil.
Many will respond with disbelief asking, "If God is good, why would He have allowed that madman to shoot?" I am not a theologian, but I do know this. No one knows. In that moment, we can either believe that God was present, helping, grieving — but allowing man free will — or we can believe that a madman killed 59 people and there is nothing else but silence in whatever spiritual realm we are willing to believe exists.
The shooter embodied evil. And if we deny God's existence, then we are forced to move forward and simply try to avoid evil as best we can.
The greatest damage we have allowed to happen to our children in America in the past 30 years is the advancement of secularism. We have insisted God is not real and that prayer is silly. In doing so, we have told them there are no answers to evil of any kind. They, and we, are helpless, and therefore our lives are hopeless because secularism offers nothing with regard to dealing with madmen.
I refuse to live afraid, and I hope you do as well. This is the time when all parents must make a decision regarding helping their kids live in a world where ugliness and evil will continue to rear their heads and prey on them or their friends.
So let's not be stupid. Let us give our kids the answer to it: God.
And let us give them the best weapon they can have to counter and stand against all evil that will appear to them: the weapon of prayer.
Dr. Meg Meeker has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for more than 30 years. She is the author of the book "Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need" (Regnery Publishing, May 2017), as well as a number of digital parenting resources and online courses, including The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids. This article has been updated.