San Bernadino shooting yesterday. When I first saw the story I got angry. Not again. More lives lost. More hate. More pain. More sorrow. And the media and the politicians spin it. We need gun control! We need to close our borders to refugees! But clearly the problem is here, or there wouldn't be more than a dozen people dead in a city that is probably more like mine that I realize.
Someone told me that the solution is to arm everyone. If all the good people have guns too, maybe the madness can be stopped. But it's only a matter of time until the madness overtakes us all. The perpetrators of these horrific events are human, after all. And we all have human frailties. So the solution doesn't lie in relying on the goodness of the people you arm. That goodness is fallible, corruptible. There is truly only one solution:
Alma 31:5--"And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God."
In a world that is increasing in darkness, the only protection is to fill ourselves with Light--the Light of Christ. He is the Light, the Life, and the Hope of the world. His gospel brings true and lasting peace. He can offer peace in times of suffering because he suffered all our sorrows and took upon him all our sins. He can offer hope in times of loss, because he overcame death. He can heal our hurts, our anger, our hatred, our fear--if we will turn to him.
One of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon is that of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis. This was a group of people who, when introduced to the gospel, had such a desire to follow God that they were willing to give up everything--riches and sins. They had been a hate-filled, war-like people, but when they learned the good news of the gospel they rejoiced in it, and covenanted with God that they would never take the life of another person.
Their faith was put to the test when they were attacked by an army because of their new beliefs. But they went unarmed to the battle field, and as the army fell upon them, they fell to their knees in worship of the Almighty God. More than 1,000 were quickly slain, but just as quickly, the attacking army was stung with the awfulness of the murders they had just committed. More than 1,000 of the attacking army were converted.
I'm sure there was great sadness in the loss of these 1,000+ righteous men. But the record states that the sadness was swallowed up in the joy of the gospel because those left behind knew that their loved ones were saved in the kingdom of God. And adding to their joy, the lives of these men were not in vain because of the number brought into the kingdom of God because of their worthy lives.
Their faith in God did not keep them from dying. Faith in God won't keep anyone from dying, ultimately. But it takes away the sting of death. It can remove all fear. Later in the story, the faith of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis was so great that it literally did save the lives of their children. But only because they did not fear death. Their faith in Jesus Christ cast out all fear.
I do not need to fear because God is at the helm. He is in control. I do need to make efforts to fill myself with his light every day. I do need to listen to the promptings of his Spirit, and follow them. I know that as I look to him that I will live, regardless of the length of my mortal life.
There is hope. There is peace. There is goodness in the world. Find it. Cling to it. Share it. And have faith that God will take care of the rest.