I usually don’t write about current events in our country, but after the string of recent mass shootings, I feel I must say something about what is happening. I want to help us put to words what we may all be feeling.
I feel helpless. I am scared to death that something like this will happen where I live, where I work, where I eat. I am scared to death for my friends, my family. I wonder now when I walk into a restaurant, into a church service, into a grocery store, if someone will come in and shoot it up.
I feel angry. I am so mad that people aren’t getting the help that they need. That these same things keep happening over and over and over again, and nothing is changing. This new norm is frightening and upsetting.
I feel sad. As I read these new articles, my heart is torn in half. Tears come to my eyes for these parents who lost children. For these friends that lost friends. For these communities that are picking up the pieces of broken families, and torn apart friend groups. It is demoralizing. It is shattering. I can’t imagine what they are going through right now.
It is times likes these that really shake the foundations of our lives and show us what is really important. I think as a Christian, we must always respond, but even more in times like these.
So how should we respond?
We should respond by praying. I know it sounds cliche, but for all you families out there, that have been impacted by this grave atrocity, Jesus is there with you. He is there with you in your hurts, your confusion, your fears, your anger, your sadness, your loss. All of it. We, as Christians, as fellow human beings, are here with you as well. We as Christians are praying for you.
We should respond by serving. The families of those affected, the communities that have been literally turned upside down, need Christians and others to step up and to serve. Make a meal. Sit down and talk with those who have been affected. Be there.
We should respond by mourning with these families, friends, and communities who have lost loved ones. Romans 12:15 says rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. This is not a time to pull away, but to come close to those who are hurting. We need to truly mourn with them as they grieve the loss of children, friends, and family.
We should respond with trust. The age old question always comes up during tragedy “How can God allow evil to exist when He is God?” I don’t know the answer to that question. I do know though that God is worthy of our love and trust. We must trust Him in this time to provide us with the peace that surpasses all understanding. We must trust Him to provide us with what we need. We must trust him to provide us with strength, words of encouragement. We must trust ultimately that all of this is in His hands, that it’s not wasted, and that even though it doesn’t make sense to us, that it is perfectly understandable to Him.
We should respond by holding on to hope. It is easy in times like these to shut down, and to give up. We must not lose hope. Darkness and evil may run rampant now, but there will come a day when all will be made right. When Jesus will return. Where the mourning will cease. Where the pain will end. Our suffering will be no more. So we hold on to hope.
Lastly, and this is the most important thing we must do. We must respond by living in the present. So many times I think, I’ll do this or that tomorrow. Why? Because life to me seems endless and the end of my life appears distant. It is times though like today, or last week, when I’m thrown back into reality, and shown not only the preciousness of life, but also the fleetingness of it as well. Life is a vapor. A precious vapor. We must not put off what we should do today, tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come. It didn’t for these California victims. Or those in Pittsburgh. Those in Las Vegas. Those in Orlando.
It is easy in times like these to grow numb to these senseless acts of violence. To see the news and then move on throughout our day. We MUST NOT do this! We must respond as ambassadors of Christ, not in fear, but in bold humility, holding our lives out to God, and saying “Take me and use me. Until my time is up, I will use every minute of every day with intentionality for your glory and for your Kingdom.”
Picture taken from: https://newschannel9.com/news/nation-world/thousands-filled-with-grief-at-shooting-vigil