Saturday, December 15, 2012

How Do We Respond to the Recent Shootings?

This week, at our nearby Clackamas Town Center,
a young man shot and killed three people, including himself.
Another person was severely injured and flown to a near-by hospital.
This event has touched many of us in the community.
We are saddened at this loss of life.
Perhaps even horrified that it occurred so close to our homes and work.

What do we make of this incident?
Where was God?
And, what do we do now??

In a complicated mixture of competing emotions and confusing thoughts,
I am reminded that God knows more about this event than we may ever find out.
This comforts me, even when I don't like the way things feel right now.

"And we know that in all things God works together with those who love him
to bring about what is good." Romans 8:28 (paraphrased)

You may be understandably outraged by this tragic event.
But what if... God WAS there in those moments?
What if it was His hand that jammed the gun?
What if it was His Holy Spirit that urged people to help one another?
And what if the thing that is needed most right now
is for the love of Christ to show up in each one of us...
to appear as a comforting neighbor,
to manifest as a friend with a helping hand,
a person who provides mercy and understanding by grace.

We can question God in every situation;
David, and other prophets in the Bible did so.
And our God invites that same closeness from us now...
to draw near enough to Him to ask for the answers we seek.

My own thoughts are drawn to the young man who took these lives.
I wonder what kind of life he lived before this incident.
If there was anyone who could come along side him, 
to walk with him, to guide him, to care for him, 
and to show him how God has given us so many more choices
than the one that led to his actions.
I assume he was in great inner turmoil and pain,
even as he performed these terrible acts.

I pray for the families of the victims, including his own loved ones,
the people who were inside and witnessed the events unfold,
the first responders and their emotional well-being,
and the workers who will lose income while the stores are shutdown.

And lastly, I ask God for the courage and wisdom,
to stand strong alongside other young men,
to help guide them in their walk with God.
To seek Him in the confusing times,
to thank God in the blessings,
and to praise Him, even in trials.
For our God is a loving God,
and His love endures all things,
even while it breaks in our distress.

(I originally posted this elsewhere, and copied it here.)

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