Pastor Todd Burpo is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller "Heaven is for Real." The book, which sold over 12 million copies worldwide, chronicles the story of his son's "trip to heaven and back."
Burpo recently completed his second book, "God is for Real: And He Longs to Answer Your Most Difficult Questions." The purpose of the book was to talk about God's presence in the midst of tragedies.
In an interview with the Gospel Herald, Burpo talked about the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history that took place just over a week ago. At least 58 people were killed and at least 500 injured, and the massacre of that scale caused people to question where God was through the devastation.
The author said, "With the shooting that happened in Vegas, the world is stunned by it, they're fixated on it. One of the things that we can't deny is that there's evil in this world. Some people's hearts are just full of evil, and can we do something about that? We, as a country, need to be honest about our adjustment to darkness and how we need the light of Jesus Christ."
Burpo then went on to talk about the lack of prayer in the country. He said that it has virtually been eliminated, both publicly and privately.
He said, "We don't let teachers pray anymore, we've stopped going to church and praying with our families at home. But what we do have is video games that promote violence that have replaced Bible time. Instead of listening to sermons, people turn on the news, where we see violence and terrorism. Gradually, then, our whole society has adjusted to this darkness."
The pastor talked about the ongoing efforts to figure out the shooter's motives and mindset. Burpo believes that Paddock's mindset was evident: he did not believe that God mattered.
Burpo said, "People are trying to figure out what went on in his mind, but I would say that something terrible in his life happened where he blamed God for it. That might have been a tipping point for him, but gradually, God didn't matter to him anymore. When you take light [out] of your life and all you have is darkness left, people [become] capable of committing these atrocities."
The author continued the interview by reminding everyone that God is ever-present, even when tragedies like this occur. He said that during storms, people often turn to God.
He said, "What I've found in those hard places, in those hard times, is that people want to pray. I think in church, as pastor, we have neat and tidy services, and you ask people to pray, and people say they don't feel comfortable. But when you're out there next to the scene of an accident, everyone's ready to pray. God is present to help in those times and in those places."
Burpo noted Mark 4:35-41 when Jesus calms the storm. While disciples were restless over the storm, Jesus was asking, "Where is your faith?"
The pastor concluded the interview by saying that it is time for America to turn to God and choose to include Him in our everyday lives.
He said, "We need to wake up -- and maybe it's through a storm, maybe it's through a shooting -- and say, 'God, we stopped praying to you, we stopped going church, and we stopped reading our Bibles, and look where we are now. God, can we come back?' The answer is yes...God is not only available, He's accessible, and I think that as a country, that's a decision we need to make."
What do you think about Burpo's words? Let us know on Facebook and please continue praying for the victims of this tragedy. For more breaking news, read our latest article about the new details that just emerged about the Vegas shooting. Questions are being raised.