This is a post written on raw emotion. My heart is with those who may be grieving.
I remember the days. The days where the only tragedy that I knew about was 9/11 and it was such a shock to our country that nothing as bad as that would happen again.
I remember hearing about the Columbine shootings and thinking to myself, so young and naive, that something like that was crazy and I would never see anything like that.
I remember the Aurora movie theater shooting. The days I was terrified to go to the movies with friends. I was old enough to realize that this stuff was real, and that there were people out there that don’t want to do good. It was a reality check.
I remember, later the same year, the Sandy Hook shooting. I remember my heart aching that day as I stood in disbelief that someone would shoot innocent children and teachers. I remembered all of the “potential intruder lock down drills” I did when I was younger, never thinking anyone would have to actually use them. I remember being confused.
I remember when these were a few of the small number of massacres that we knew about and the whole country mourned thinking this would never happen again.
But it didn’t stop.
I remember the days when I didn’t have to worry about going to any major event without fear that something tragic may happen.
In 2017 alone, there were 378 mass shootings in the United States. 2 of the 5 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history have been within the past 4 months. The numbers of people dead and injured are gut-wrenching.
I remember Las Vegas last October, thinking that this was getting out of hand. I was just saddened thinking about the evil that lives in the world that we live in. Still thinking, there’s no way this could happen close to me. They all just seemed too far.
I remember a few months ago when there was a mass shooting in San Antonio. This one hit close to home. Literally. The shooter was from my home town just down the road. I probably was in the same room as him at some point growing up. This put it into perspective, that I am not immune to these tragedies and that they can happen to anyone. We are not too small for this to happen to us.
This time I wasn’t only sad, I was straight-up angry. I broke.
How could people be so selfish and heartless and kill innocent people? How can people do these horrific acts? What is going through their head? I wanted to scream. I am tired of this being a “normal” thing we hear on the news. I’m outraged that this world is such a darkened and broken place and that we have to live in it, so dangerous. I am distraught that it isn’t getting any better and that we can’t just hide from it and run away. I don’t like this world.
But then I completely stopped myself.
Because, thankfully, we have a hope.
A hope that is far greater than any of this evil.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Our God is one of everlasting power, joy and love. And one day He is coming back, and we will reunite with Him. And if our time on earth is up before then, we will get to be with Him in Heaven, the most glorious of places.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” -2 Corinthians 4:17
So I sit and dwell on this hope that we have. That this evil is of no comparison to the light that we will encounter someday. The weight I am feeling from this loss is minuscule to the GLORY that I will be feeling one day. That we cannot live in fear or we will be unable to reach those who don’t know what this hope is. I sit and wonder why we don’t share this hope with others more frequently. I feel convicted, convicted that I don’t reach out enough. What if I WAS in the same room as that shooter a long time ago and I was too caught up in my own world to reach out and tell him about the glory that is found in Jesus? And with that, it isn’t us but it is Jesus who SAVES, and He calls us to help him be a part of that! And who am I to not do what He has called us to do and to do it to my fullest?
I also felt convicted of the hate and anger that I was feeling because the Truth is, is that God loves those shooters just as much as He loves you and me. He loves them unconditionally, despite shortcomings. We sin too, our sin is the same. It is next to impossible to wrap my mind around that kind of love, but man, it truly is beautiful. That is just the depth, width, and power of the love of the Lord. We are called to love like He loves, so with that, we are called to love the shooter too. We may not understand why they have done the things that they have done, but we should love them anyways. And we may never understand it, because sometimes it is beyond their own comprehension, too. Our brains work in really crazy ways, and sometimes disorders completely overtake our thoughts and make us act irrationally. It’s a real thing and we as humans are imperfect, and we always will be.
So I cling tight to this hope. Hope that He will wipe away my tears and death will just be a memory. I remind myself of it often. He is coming back!! It is the sweetest to look forward to. So, let us love others well, no matter who they are. Let us be bold and share who Christ is through our words and actions, and let us love the shooters. May we not simply live in the world and go through each day, but let us be ALIVE in the world and work to our fullest in every moment.