We awoke this morning to another round of devastating news. This time, a shooter in Las Vegas. As the morning has passed, the death toll has continued to rise.
For the first time in my life, I honestly prayed through tears, “Come, Lord Jesus,” as I dropped my son off at preschool, driving through downtown Asheville. The endless displays of rainbow flags only added insult to injury.
I am in no way qualified to write on tragedy and sin and the theological implications of both. In fact, I don’t mind if I’m the only one who reads this post. It’s just one of those I’ve got to write for fear that my head/heart may crumble if I don’t make some sense out of this on paper.
I’m tired of tragedy. Tired of death. Tired of cancer. Tired of natural disasters. Tired of mass shootings. Tired of any shootings, actually. Tired of car wrecks. Tired of racism. Tired of hate. Tired of mental illness. Tired of terrorism. This isn’t the way God intended it to be.
I lived about 30 minutes from Heath High School where the first so-called “mass school shooting” occurred. My husband was at Virginia Tech in his office the day a gunman caused destruction on campus. I go to church. I go to school. I go to concerts. I go to the grocery store, shopping malls, and movie theaters. It really seems as if nowhere is safe anymore.
I’ve always selfishly avoided the prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus.” As I’m becoming more aware of the world we are living in and the world my children will grow up in, my heart is turning. Maybe it’s motherhood that has changed my prayers. My children aren’t jaded by race or socioeconomic class right now. A person is a person, regardless of where they live or how they dress. They don’t grasp a world full of sin and suffering. They still see the good and fun. I see the good and fun too, but I also understand the depth of evil they are up against. That makes me long (literally ache sometimes) for heaven. And for that, I pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.”
So, how can I juxtapose living abundantly in a world full of evil? How can I reconcile living joyfully in a world full of pain? How can I live without fear in a world full of fearful things?
I must live aware, but I must not live in fear. If I let it, fear could keep me inside for the remainder of my life. This isn’t God’s plan for my life. I can’t fulfill my purpose if I am living in fear. Yes, evil is out there. Yes, I must be aware. But, I cannot let fear cripple me.
I must remember God is on His throne. Nothing catches Him off guard or by surprise. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Today’s events haven’t changed one thing about Him. Our circumstances might change, but He does not.
I must remember the battle has already been won. Sin has ultimately been defeated. My King is victorious. Eternity will be beautiful and perfect and sinless and pain-free. Today, I confess, I can’t wait to get there. But, that doesn’t mean my time here on earth will be spent in vain. There are things to do. People need hope. They need to hear the name of Jesus.
I don't know what I will wake up to tomorrow. But, I do know the One who holds tomorrow in His hands. While I can't always fully explain the why, I wholeheartedly trust the Who ... and for that reason, I can wake up tomorrow with a hope that is firmly planted in Him.
Here are some promises I'm claiming today:
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." – Psalm 91:2
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. – John 10:10