I won’t say “I can’t believe it has happened again,” because after the shootings at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Charleston and Orlando I think most of us believe it is only a matter of time before another deranged individual takes up a firearm and destroys innocent lives. Our hearts are saddened almost to the point of being numb at the sight the carnage in Las Vegas on Monday. We have nearly grown accustomed to these events but we still wonder what would possess an individual to do such a thing and we’d like to know the whereabouts of God in all of this. The medical and psychiatric community can help us with the first question and there are countless opinions as to the second. The truth is we will never understand why horrific tragedies happen. One thing I am sure of in regard to God’s presence is that God was in the courage of those who risked their lives to rescue others and in the healing touch of the men and women who have provided aid.
If we are to trust Romans 8:28 we must believe that something good can come from tragedies such as what happened in Las Vegas. I believe that God works in all things, but I also believe that you and I must join God in working for good. We don’t sit back and passively wait for some redeeming good to appear that will help us make sense of the tragedy. We pray for the victims and open our lives to a fresh work of the Spirit that will enable us to deepen our lives in Christ and, hopefully, prevent tragedies like this from happening again.
The first place I want us to look for good is in one another. I watched an interview with the Las Vegas assailant’s brother. He was stunned, bewildered and I felt for him. As I watched the interview I could not help but remember that I have a brother. He lives a few hundred miles from me and while we talk occasionally we do not know the details of one another’s lives. I love my brother and say he is “the good son” in our family. He would be among the folks providing aid and doing anything he could to help. I think he would say the same of me, but the fact remains, we don’t know each other’s joys and pains in depth. We need to know each other better and I am not speaking of familial ties. We like to think of our church as A Family of Faith and I hope, as a faithful response to the Las Vegas shooting, we will be more attentive to one another. We will never be able to protect our society from tragedy, but if we invest ourselves into one another good will come.
Finally, know this… God loves you. No matter what you are going through, you are not alone and help is available. Also, remember that I love you and if you ever need a listening ear, I am here.