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A Blog Post I Never Hoped to Repost

I went to high school at Marshall County High School. My parents still live in that town. You may not be familiar with it, but over the course of the next few hours, you will most likely hear the name on the news. The national news. Another school shooting. At this point I don't know any of the details other than there is a shooter in custody, one confirmed fatality, multiple injuries, and my dad's church members are so far accounted for and safe. (*Update: One boy who was a member of his church was shot, but he is expected to make a full recovery.)

Here's the thing I'm trying to come to grips with on tragedy. The world keeps on going. This morning as I sat at Starbucks writing curriculum I received this text from my mom: Active shooter at the high school. Please pray. I prayed. And then I cried. I cried for the students who were at that very moment living out a worst nightmare. I cried for the teachers who were trying to put on brave faces. I cried for the parents who weren't sure if their children were safe. I cried because this world isn't a safe place for our children anymore. I cried because I was sipping a chai tea latte and listening to worship music and kids at that moment were undoubtedly hiding and wondering and praying and questioning and fearing. The world keeps on turning.

Come, Lord Jesus.

This is a blog post I wrote after the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017. It seems fitting to post again right now.

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