The joy in my heart this morning as I awoke and began my morning routine was greatly subdued and moved to the quiet background as I learned of the mass shooting in Las Vegas last night. 58 killed, hundreds wounded. What horror, and terror, and grief, and sadness. And the inevitable questions that will follow: where was God when this happened? If he is good and loving why would he allow this carnage? Could he not have stopped this? Apart from faith in God, no human answer can possibly satisfy the agony of soul that prompts these very good questions. I am personally grappling for my best response to the sadness in my own heart over this senseless tragedy.
So many things I don’t know, can’t know or explain. But, these things I do know:
1. God is loving and compassionate and he feels and shares and cares about the grief and pain of the victims of this shooting.
2. The gunman and his actions remind me of the twisted nature of the human heart, bent away from God, where all manner of evil thoughts and actions lie latent within us. It reminds me that Satan is temporarily the “prince and power of the air,” wreaking havoc where he can. But he is a dog on a chain, dangerous, but ultimately defeated. This gunman suffered either from a serious mental illness, or from believing a lie planted in his heart by the “father of lies” –Satan.
3. The shooting, as horrible as it is, is one event among many more on the same day, and in the last month, that resulted in a great loss of life — hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, famine, acts of terrorism, disease, genocide of Christians, etc. All these things remind me that the earth itself, and the children of God, are groaning with sorrow and crying out to God –“How long, Lord, how long until you come and set things right? Until you reveal yourself in power and glory?”
But until then, the Holy Spirit is here with us, the restraining power of God, the Comforter who alone brings peace and whispers of hope and confidence in the face of breathtaking sorrow, who counsels us to redeem the time we have, to seize the opportunities given us to act in gracious kindness and benevolence, to bind up the brokenhearted, to comfort the wounded spirits around us, to love our neighbors who are sorrowing as though we ourselves have suffered the losses. To point others to Jesus Christ who alone is Victor over death and the grave, and who alone can save us from an eternity of even worse suffering and grief and hopeless sorrow and regret.
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus, with salvation and healing in your wings.