There’s always more to it than meets the eye.
Psychotic, psychopath or possessed?
Such are the questions that are being raised—at least with regards to the first two—about Stephen Paddock in the aftermath of his murderous massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday night, Oct. 1. A total of 59 lay dying or dead, with an additional 573 wounded, when he finally put a gun to his own head, ending his life as swat team members broke into his 32nd-floor hotel room.
So far, details into his personal life and background are sketchy at best. Authorities have been interviewing family members and friends. They’ve also been examining his computer and social media accounts in an attempt to come up with a motive—but, so far none has been found.
We do know he was a multimillionaire, so it would seem that money problems didn’t drive him to despair and a psychotic break with reality. Neither did he have any apparent ties to any domestic or foreign groups. So, that must be ruled out as well.
Authorities have also discovered that he was a loner who appeared to be quite controlled and calculating. Likewise, it’s apparent that this type of horrific crime was well-thought out and having been planned for months at various venues before choosing Las Vegas.
Regardless, the question still lingers: “Why did he do it? What drove this man with no police record to break out his hotel window and start raining hot lead and terror upon the helpless concertgoers below?”
We may never know — because, when it all comes down to it, only Stephen Paddock and God knew what lurked within that troubled heart.
But one thing was/is clear: his was a dark, desperately depraved heart the Bible would label as demon-possessed. Like Judas, whose heart was taken over by the evil one in the upper room that night after eating the sopped bread and then going out into the night to betray Jesus (John 13:25-30), somewhere along the line the devil gained full control of Paddock’s heart and mind.
That’s why he, like every mass murderer who’s ever lived (e.g., Nero, Hitler, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, etc.) felt no remorse for his dastardly crime. In fact, they all seemed to relish the attention and thrill of killing. It’s also apparent that they had a “god complex” that feels justified in killing others whom they deem sinful or worthy of dead.
Thus, all the continued debates on gun control, whether or not there were multiple shooters, how he was able to get all those guns and thousands of rounds of ammo into his room, etc., will continue for a long time.
But, we’d do well to realize that this is further evidence of spiritual warfare and how the “god of this world…the prince of darkness…the great adversary of God and all who believe” was really behind all of this. Even if it’s later proven that Paddock had ties to ISIS or Antifa, the fact remains that evil has and always will be with us until God says “Enough!” and puts an end to all of this.
Therefore, in the midst of such perplexity and complexity that so often lead to despair, we must “look higher than the hills to the One Who made them” (Psalm 121:1-2). We must continue crying out to Him when we find ourselves at “our Wit’s End” (Ps. 107:26-30). Only then will we have that “sure-and-steadfast Anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:18-19) that will keep us secure and serene in times like this.
We must also continue to pray that God will continue to comfort those who are bereaved and draw everyone to Himself in these dark days. Sadly, these type things will continue escalating in the coming days (Matthew 24-25). That’s why we must continue “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith” (Heb. 12:2).
Dear Reader, I do hope you feel His Presence with you right now. I also pray you’re finding Him to be “a very present Help in trouble, Whose Grace is sufficient for you” (Ps. 46:1; II Corinthians 12:9-10). God bless you.
NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at email@example.com.