Tragedy and Terror
This weekend brought with it some terrifying tragedies.
In our own city of Edmonton there was a horrific incident with a broken person deciding to attack one brave RCMP officer.
And then we all awoke this morning to the news that a broken man had opened fire in Las Vegas last night killing more than 50 people and wounding more than 400. He shot into a crowd of thirty thousand people. Random strangers.
There has been floods and hurricanes and all manner of tragic events over the past few months. And in it has been this overwhelming sense of “why”? Why God are these things happening?
It is common for us, as humans, whether we believe in him or not, to still turn to God and ask as the question. We don’t understand.
It is easy to allow these events to steal from you.
To steal your JOY.
To steal our LOVE.
To steal your PEACE.
To steal your HOPE.
I heard a quote recently, and I wish I could find it again (so if you know who said it, shoot me a message and let me know so I can give them credit) that said something like this:
“Our hearts were never designed to process this level of pain, death and devastation.”
In this age where everyone has a camera in their pocket and we have this constant stream of information and news at our fingertips at all times, it is not surprising the world feels overwhelmed at the terrible events happening.
Our hearts were designed to be engaged and compassionate towards people hurting around us. The people we encounter in our world. When we can see every tragedy, every pain, every ounce of ugly in all four corners of the planet at any given moment, along with a graphic video or 20 from eye witnesses, it overloads us. Our hearts simply cannot carry the burden.
Not on our own.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed with the weight of the pain I see in the world, I go back over and over again to a few key truths from scripture.
Romans 5:20 “When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace.”
I remind myself that there is sin in this world. That is unavoidable. And it grows. But wherever sin grows and spreads, it says that GOD’S Grace is there! And not only is it there but it is FULLER and given in GREATER MEASURE. One translation says “Where sin ABOUNDS, grace SUPER-ABOUNDS! What a great promise. That even when things look dark and bleak, God is right there in the thick of it pouring out his grace on people.
I think of it in this way. Whenever there is a tragedy, always look for the people who are helping. There will always be stories of heros and rescuers who are saving people, helping others, selflessly loving on people. The stories always come out afterwards don’t they? That is God’s grace SUPER ABOUNDING! Look for those people.
This is where we can revive our HOPE!
2. Philippians 4:6 “Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.”
This is some pretty clear instruction.
DO NOT-Be Anxious.
When these terrible tragedies hit, it is a calling to pray! It is an opportunity to fall at the feet of our savior on behalf of others. To be used to love on people through our prayers to God. I hope I never take that privilege for granted.
This is where we can revive our PEACE and LOVE.
3. James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
It is through the trials our faith is allowed to grow! It produces good fruit in us! It is one of the ways that God grows us into mature believers who can withstand hardship and help others along the way. It helps us live outside of ourselves. It brings us to a place of abundance, not lack.
It is in this truth that we can revive our JOY.
I hope these three verses have encouraged you today. That even though we see these tragedies around us, we can KNOW that God is there. In the midst, working, growing, serving, loving people through his church. Which is us friends.
Tragedy and Terror is an opportunity to bring light into a dark world.
And so I will close with this:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The darkness WILL NOT overcome the light.
Especially when we allow ourselves to be the light through Jesus.