When police learned Michael Brandon Hill walked into a Georgia elementary school last week loaded down with a rifle and ammunition, there was probably little doubt in their minds that the situation would turn grisly.
Instead, Hill was apprehended alive, and not a single person was hurt, thanks to school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff convincing him to turn himself in.
Antoinette Tuff should absolutely be commended for her cool head and gentle spirit. There’s no doubt the way she handled the situation saved a lot of lives, including her own. And considering recent history, it does seem appropriate to call a bloodless end to a potential mass-shooting story “miraculous.”
It can be tempting to hear this amazing story and conclude that, because Antoinette relied on her faith and compassion to talk Hill into surrendering, the lesson is that we should always rely on passive or supernatural deliverance when faced with a threatening situation.
I agree that we should seek peaceful resolutions to interpersonal conflict, especially within the Body. 1 Cor. 6 even tells us to avoid taking fellow believers to court when wronged (It implies to do this even in the face of a legitimate grievance). But to infer that acting in one’s own self-defense is somehow less spiritual than “talking it out” isn’t realistic or biblical.
Probably everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who was miraculously healed from a deadly cancer without a single medical treatment, simply as a result of heartfelt prayer. Is the lesson then to always seek non-medical resolutions to severe illness, or are those who seek medical attention somehow less spiritual?
Is the woman who was successful in “talking down” a rapist more spiritual than the woman who wasn’t? Or does she possess a more genuine faith than the woman who stopped the rapist by means of force?
Or, consider the victims at Newtown. There were plenty of people in Newtown, teachers and children, and the parents outside, who were fervently praying for miraculous deliverance from the terrifying mass murder. Was their faith just too weak? Or didn’t God think they deserved a miracle?
To say that we should avoid being proactive in our health and safety and instead “rely on God” is trying to force signs and miracles out of Yahweh that He may not intend on providing. Also, let’s remember that sometimes God delivers us here on earth, and sometimes His deliverance is taking us to Heaven to dwell with Him. That’s no less of a miracle.
The Bible tells us not to test God by trying to force miraculous works out of Him. That’s exactly the same tactic Satan used on Jesus during his 40-day fast in the desert. Probably not the person we should seek to imitate.
Should we deliberately take our hands off the wheel when driving down I-35, “trusting” God to see us safely to our destination? Should we spend our bank account into the red every month, “trusting” that God will “provide” the resources for us to feed our children just the same? If we deliberately decide ahead to time to react to a situation so that only a miracle could save us (Luke 4:9-12), are we acting faithfully or foolishly?