“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
The details are not all in. The grief is just now starting to be felt as the numbness wears off. We struggle to come to grips with what transpired today. I was struck by how many times the news reporter had to utter the word “dead” as she struggled to maintain her composure on the radio interview. May God bless all those who are directly affected by the shooting – and those who are caring for them.
I know that we are all going to react differently to this evil that has cast a dark pall over what is supposed to be a “joyous” season. But this is my prayer for myself, my congregation, and this nation (and even the world):
+That we would see, though our tears, our own sin and guilt. We are all (I am) responsible and we all need to repent. We have NOT loved God with our whole heart and with all our strength and with all our mind.
+ That we would hear, over the cacophony of voices, the crystal clear Word of God which not only convicts us of our sin, but points to the beautiful Savior Jesus the Christ whose inconceivably noble love and purpose was to suffer a completely undeserved death – not just for this friends, but for even the worst of sinners. The 20 children who died in Connecticut were not born to die. Each one died a senseless death. This is what is so tragic. But Jesus was the only person who was actually born with the purpose of becoming sin for us and dying as the perfect sacrificial offering for our eternal salvation!
It is tragedies such as this which bring to the fore the reality of evil in our lives. Evil is slippery. It is often hidden and even disguised as good. We easily become accustomed to it and do not see it for what it truly is. Today we see evil plainly. We see the proof of how sick we are.
For myself… these times are inspirational. I can see the enemy. I can see evil. I also see clearly what is Good. I can see God. I know I am on the right track. The obvious (and hard) questions are also more pressing: Where are my priorities? I can say I have certain values, but does my life really reflect them? What is the goal of my life? Am I staying true to it? Where does my life need repentance and changing?
I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled by the fact that The Lord is on MY side. I am on the right team! With Him no crazed shooter can kill me. I have already died to my sin in my baptism. NO ONE can harm me. I am branded a child of Christ forever!
So finally, my friends in Christ, whom I love: be encouraged and passionate in your Love for God. Love your spouse (what were you fighting about, anyway? It just isn’t worth it.) Love your children. Love your neighbor’s children. Yes, bring them to church. Worship as a family. Make Jesus the reason for everything in your life together (not just this season!) You have been gifted with them for one more day here on earth. It might be the last. Make it count – to the glory of the Lord! Amen!