Strive Hard to See His Mercy
As I’m sure is the case for many of you, I woke up yesterday to the sound of an alarm clock (in this case, my phone) and golden lights peeking through my bedroom curtains. After fighting the urge to stay underneath my warm blankets, I drug my groggy self out of bed to get ready for the day (note: this is normal for me, as I’m the epitome of “not a morning person”). As I stumbled on about my morning, I had no idea, no thought that over 500 people were waking up in hospital beds, wiping red, tired eyes, grieving lost or wounded family members, friends, and loved ones.
It was after I had gone through most of my morning at home that I saw the headline. At that moment, I wish I could say that I froze in shock, or that I dropped to my knees in prayer for the victims, but the truth is, I didn’t do either. Of course, I felt the weight of the tragedy deep down in my gut, but I carried on with my morning as though nothing had happened. In reflection on my lack of response, I have to ask the question, have I become heartless? Desensitized? What is the proper response to these tragedies? How do I cope when there’s so much polarity, brokenness, and grieving in our world?
The statistics are crazy. Since the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook in 2012, there have been around 1,500 shootings in the United States alone. It seems that every day we hear news of another tragedy, another active shooter, another number of lives lost. How do we cope? How do we still feel when there is so much to feel for? In my mind, the easy way out is to jump into political argument over gun laws, to blame things on police officers, or on mental illness. Those discussions have value, but I believe they’re just band-aids to mask the pain that we all experience so regularly over the tragedies in our country. We want peace, and we want justice, and we want answers to why humanity is so cruel. I’m here to tell you that the only comfort, and the source of all justice is this: “The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy” (Psalm 145:20).
Why is that comforting? Because God has already taken vengeance for the evil acts of the active shooter in Las Vegas. Because God has judged that man with a strong hand. Because God loves his people, and justly reigns over them. I confess that all too often, instead of reminding myself of the promise that God sovereignly rules over this world, I silently go about my business, lost in my own thoughts because the world is just that cruel. That’s not right. Because I’m told in scripture that God works His will in tragedy, and out of it. Even when I can’t see mercy… God is merciful.
One final thought. You are a part of his mercy to the people in Las Vegas. That’s right, you have a role in God’s plan of redemption because you are one of his people, chosen and precious. My, how the city of Las Vegas needs Jesus. The victims in the hospital, the mourning families and friends, and the surrounding community need Him because He is their only hope. Don’t buy into the lie that prayer is powerless, or that reminding the world about the hope of Jesus is foolish. It’s the most important thing we can do in moments like this, because Jesus is the only hope.