I don’t watch the news on Sunday mornings. I get up early, come into the church office, and begin to focus and pray on what the Lord is doing in our church, and I prepare to welcome our church body together for worship. This past Sunday, I was oblivious to the tragedy in Orlando until my drive home, when I heard it being discussed on the radio. Shooting. Night Club. Massacre. Deadliest shooting in American history: 50 have died, 53 more are injured.
I began to think of the similar recent tragedies, in San Bernardino, Paris, and Brussels. I thought back to that movie theater in Aurora, CO, to Fort Hood, and to the shootings at Wedgewood Baptist, not too far from my home when I was a senior in High School.
I began to think on other threats to culture and to our way of life: violence, prejudices, culture wars, poverty, sex-trade, terrorism, and so on. Our world is at war with itself, and in an even deeper sense, our world is in rebellion against God. Of all of the motives for such terrible acts, people are in a crisis of identity and of security and of authority. Ever since Genesis 3, we’ve been resisting God’s rule over this world, and in so doing, we’ve forgotten who we are and we’ve stopped trusting His protection, His provision, and His ways. Some have allowed their rebellion to lead them into actions so awful that we’re all thrown into fear, anger, and confusion. I’m personally weighing through emotions of sadness and of urgency to react, and at the same time, I’m not shocked. We’ve been accustomed to acts of terror. And while I’m on guard that I wouldn’t become calloused, I’m sober minded about this: 1) Every sinful act is treason against God, 2) I’m guilty too, and 3) Our world desperately needs a Savior.
We started a series in the Psalms this past Sunday. In Psalms 1, the focus is on my personal relationship with God, and how His presence and His will changes me within every circumstance of life. This week, I’m reading Psalm 2, and it’s there that I’m reminded that while the world in chaos, my God is not shaking. He is steady. He is not out of control. His plan is perfect. What does God say to all of the tragedy? He says, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. (Psalm 2:6-7)”
You know who this Son is. His name is Jesus. He once encouraged His followers with these words: “…In Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” Jesus said a good many other things about how to live in times of crisis. He said:
Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” In other words, it’s okay to grieve. Face your feelings. Talk with God about your feelings and about who He is in the midst of this moment.
Matthew 11:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” I’ve seen people respond to #OrlandoHorror with everything from compassion and empathy, to justification and arrogance. When human emotions collide with human emotions, we can perpetuate one horrific act into many terrible acts among people. We can (and should) choose to be peacemakers, not peace breakers. I think the key to this is:
Matthew 11:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” The word meek means strength in restraint. In our culture, we are so quick to try and dominate people with our ideas, thoughts, and power. Jesus celebrates those who submit themselves (and their control and power) to God.
This reminds me again of Psalm 2, which ends with the encouragement to take our concerns, our thoughts, and actions before our Lord. “How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Psalm 2:12)”
On Monday after the terrible news of Sunday, with you and with our nation, I’m pausing to pray and be comforted and led by God. I’m finding hope, that God is still in control, and He is still near to the brokenhearted. And I’m praying for you, that you would find healing and hope that is found nowhere else, but in Jesus, His Son.
Trusting Jesus with you,
P.S. During a crisis you’ll probably struggle with knowing what to say to your kids, how much to say and when to say it. Check out this Conversation Guide from LegacyKids.