I know it probably sounds a bit crazy, considering there’s nothing new under the sun, and there isn’t anything happening now that has never happened before. But for my short life on earth and for the experiences such life has given me the opportunity to have, church, for me, isn’t what it used to be. Church used to be a safe haven. When you’re in church, you felt like you were hidden under God’s big wings – or at least that’s how I felt anyway.
The Charleston shooting happened last week in South Carolina, and nine people lost their lives, including the Pastor. I haven’t blogged about this shooting because so many thoughts have been running through my mind. I didn’t and still don’t know what to say. What should I say? Christians have always been targeted by enemies. Black people, too, have always been targeted. And the perpetrators and their families act like it’s all in our heads. None of these is new, but it doesn’t make it easier to swallow. At some point, you’re just hoping that some things are over and the world – America especially – has grown past it. But apparently not.
Several weeks before the Charleston shooting, my Pastor preached about the violence going on in the world and the need for people to learn how to protect themselves. It made me cringe when he said those things – not because he was wrong, but because he was right, and it scared the heck out of me.
Fast forward to this past Sunday in church, I saw one of the church staff with a gun holstered on his hips, and do you want to know how that made me feel? Relieved. I was relieved. Since when did relief become the feeling of seeing a gun in church? But that’s how I felt because whether I’m a Christian or not and no matter how much I pray for myself and fellow people in the world, the reality is that there are evil, deranged, possessed, and soulless people walking around the living, looking for souls to devour.
We all have our different demons. In Nigeria, you may be more concerned about which juju Mama Bukky is commissioning in her bedroom, and in America you’re afraid of psychotic people wielding guns and shooting random people. The devil finds the cleverest ways to attack us. He knows we’re dumb enough in America to purchase guns for every sicko out there, and he knows that in Nigeria, we’re envious and wicked enough to bring down our friends and neighbors through diabolical means. Evil is evil everywhere. No where is safe. The only difference between Nigeria and America is that in America, their brand of evil is legal, and in Nigeria, you can’t even see the damn evil.
When I saw that church worker with a gun, I hoped and believed that there were others seated around the church with guns ready to defend, if it came to that. I’d rather not have guns be so accessible, but when the powers that be say that anyone and everyone can have a gun, what are the rest of us – sane people – supposed to do? Shall we just keep hoping that the government finally does the right thing and removes the guns from the hands of people who have no business carrying guns? Or that the insane people with guns don’t ever use them? Or should we arm and defend ourselves?
I don’t know what else to say. I can only pray that we are long gone before evil even knows we were there. I thank the good Lord for keeping me and my family and showing us favor and mercy. May the souls of the departed from Charleston, South Carolina all rest in peace, and may God give their families the fortitude to bear this loss. Amen.