My phone dinged Sunday morning, June 12, with Facebook’s notification that three of my friends were safe in regard to the Orlando shooting. I had no idea what that meant, but fortunately social media makes it easy to find out what’s happening in the world within seconds. My heart sank when I learned of the largest mass shooting in American history at a gay nightclub, with 49 dead and 53 injured. I couldn’t even begin to wrap my mind around the pain and horror inflicted on the victims and their families and friends.
Then I learned about the very different kind of pain and horror that also happened in Orlando two days later, when an alligator snatched a two-year-old boy and won the wrestling match with the boy’s father, pulling the toddler under the water and drowning him—in preparation, one might assume, to make a meal of him later.
I shared the horrifying news with students at Probe’s Mind Games camp, where we were teaching that week. Three of the campers are from Orlando, and I learned that Floridians just know that alligators are everywhere, and they take precautions. When Aimee heard that the incident had happened on one of the Disney World properties, she asked, “Where’s the family from? I bet not Florida. [It was Nebraska.] We know about alligators. You can’t see them, but they can see you. Even in four inches of water.”
It is certainly possible that the back-to-back nightclub shooting and the alligator snatching both happening in Orlando was just a bizarre coincidence. But I wonder if one is a physical representation of a spiritual reality about very real warfare that happens in the unseen spirit realm.
Alligators are predators. They’re always looking for something to kill and eat. I couldn’t help but be reminded of 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.”
I am absolutely sure that our enemy the devil was actively prowling at the Pulse nightclub. Jesus said that the devil comes to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10), and he was successful at all three the morning of June 12. As I looked at pictures of all the people who died that day, I saw young men and women who were someone’s sons and daughters, someone’s nieces and nephews and grandchildren, someone’s friends and co-workers, their lives snatched by a horrible predator.
I thought about the parents and loved ones of gay-identifying people who faithfully pray that God will open the eyes of their beloveds in “the far country” of sin and self-indulgence (Luke 15) to see the destructive path they are on and repent. I thought about the parents and loved ones I know personally, with whom I join my prayers for God to protect their children in the far country before the heartless, evil predator snatches them like the alligator grabbed little Lane Graves.
Disney has been changing their signs, from the polite request “No Swimming Please” to the explicit “Danger: Alligators and Snakes in Area.” People need to know when they are exposed to dangerous predators, right?
It’s true in the spiritual realm as well. Sexual and relational brokenness often leads to sin that opens people to attacks of our enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, always on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Just as real as the alligators in what’s supposed to be “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Celebrating and encouraging what God calls sin—especially any kind of sexual behavior outside of marriage between a husband and wife—is like erecting a sign at the Seven Seas Lagoon that says, “Come on in, the water’s fine.”
But it’s not. Whether people wade into the shallows or dive into the deep, they are making themselves an offering to the predator, right in his territory.
Like a lion or alligator, the enemy of our souls is on the prowl, seeking to steal, kill and destroy.
Just ask the parents of the ones who died at the Pulse nightclub. Or the parents of little Lane Graves.
This blog post originally appeared at blogs.bible.org/engage/sue_bohlin/orlandos_bizarre_coincidence on June 28, 2016.
I like your comments in reference to all those events? But in reference people choose what they want to believed either in God or in their own understanding. Regardless the worldview and culture have a great impact in society, and also affect those that are believers in Christ. This is definite the last days? As Satan is doing it’s best to kill and destroy individuals and nations for that matter. The bottom line is that God gave us our free will either to believed or not to believed in Him (John 3:16). That is why God gave us general and special revelation to reveal Himself to mankind? So in essence they are without excused not to believed in Him (Romans 1: 19-20). I like the fact how you used the example of how to used Critical thinking based on what people teach in reference to evolution or other different religions? We must question their believes, and how they came to their conclusions. lastly, it all comes down to the same answer that God is the source for all humanity, and we are under the umbrella of the laws and precepts of our Mighty God according to the Bible (Basically “God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” Acts 10: 34-35).
Thank you, Miguel.
It still amazes me how the U.S is capable of giving birth to geniuses, and magnificent theories that help LGBT communities fight agains discrimination, ang still have organizations like this christian brain washing redneck nonesence spreading this sort of hate speech. How can a woman, like you insinuate that the people killed, REGARDLESS OF THEIR SEXUALITY, by terrorists, were in some way guilty because they were homosexuals? How can this be taken seriously? I guess this is why Europe thinks of the United States as the country that hold the smartest and the dummest people in the world.
By the way, just so this association knows, This website and artciles in it are used by teachers from top universities such as the one i study at to represent homophobe backward and discriminating attitudes that violate sexual freedom. Thank you for being a great source of information to critique by REAL teachers who dont try to brain wash student and make them into KKK fanatics. Wake up people.
I’m not sure where you got the idea I was insinuating the victims of the nightclub shooting were guilty. I was trying to make the point that they were prey for a spiritual predator.
I’m also not sure where you got the idea that merely agreeing with God, who created humans and human sexuality, equates to violating anyone’s sexual freedom. Perhaps you are reading something into what I wrote?
Have a good day.