When are we as a nation going to learn that life is precious, short, brief and valuable?
Our kids and young adults are sucked into a word of make believe where there is no danger as they sit with the controls in their hands. For hours they will sit unmoved as their eyes are glued to a plasma screen participating in a gun fight, a war, a car race, and a number of other things which make them feel as if they are in control and when it is all over they are still standing, unharmed and breathing.
We watch the television shows and movies unthinking, as the drama unfolds and the bad man dies and the good man lives to see other day where he will fight the villains of society once again. John Wayne, Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Clint Eastwood put on a good show and we applaud as they walk away with a few bruises, but reality is this was a movie set, those were stuntmen involved, and the bullets were blanks.
Yet, what happened in Tuscaloosa and in Colorado in the last few weeks was real and leaves lasting effects. Those bullets that hit the side of a popular restaurant and those which went through the walls of a theater were real bullets; the pain felt and the death that ensued was real and lasting; the memories and the reminders will flash through the minds of Americans for years to come, especially in the minds and the hearts of those closest to the events which transpired.
While these two events stand out in our minds, have been covered on media broadcast and are unimaginable, there is something we need to remember, we must consider. Last weekend, in a seventy two hour period, twelve people died in the city of Chicago. In Birmingham a young girl died in a drive by shooting. On July 1, a bright Sunday morning in the suburbs of Mobile, a man strolled into a church service carrying multiple guns, a knife and ammunition. A girlfriend stabbed her boyfriend, who died on the scene in Harpersville, Alabama.
Do not get me wrong, please do not consider me callous, and do not say I am uncompassionate. It is a sad, sad thing to hear the Mayor of Aurora say that seventy plus people were shot or injured at the theater. Twelve of that number were mortally wounded, and the youngest being three months old. I think of the families who rushed to the hospitals to await the news on their loved ones, the ones who ended up taking time out of life to make plans for funerals, and the untold number of people who have been traumatized by a man who no one knows anything about attempting to figure out why he would commit such a violent, senseless act on people gathered for a time of entertainment.
But when I look at the mass shooting, alongside the other things which have gone on in our country, in towns and cities around the nation, I still come back to the same question. It is a question which still has no answer; no matter how hard, how long, or how involved I become with the thought. This senselessness in our nation, this willingness to take the life of another living soul, this unending struggle with evil and death at the hands of someone else…It is difficult to wrap my mind around.
Yet, I am reminded in God’s Holy Word that He is still in charge and still sits upon His throne and still observes and directs the lives of men and woman upon this earth. That is what David writes about:
“The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” (Psalms 11:4-7 KJV)
We may not understand all things, we may not be able to put the pieces together, but God has a plan and God has a purpose. He will and does work all things together for His good. (Romans 8:28) God uses the bad and good in this life to reveal Himself and His purposes, so that He might draw others to Him, His love and His grace covering the hurts and filling the holes of a life that seems meaningless. We must keep our eyes on Him-the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
In the end, this reminder is crystal clear: We must pray for our nation. As we pray for those involved in the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado and the ones who now deal with the aftermath, we must lift them up and pray that God will be the comfort and sustainer in their time of need. We must lift up petitions for all those involved in law enforcement, emergency response teams and elected officials as they deal with the evil that permeates our society. And we must be ever vigilante in our prayers for this nation, as we seek His intervention in the mess we have made.