As the cold hard reality of another tragic shooting began to settle in on the public conscience, politicians and pundits offered their explanations for this horrific event and provided suggestions for avoiding this horror going forward. Our nation has once again been pulled into a public discourse on what we can do going forward.
For the Christian, however, our path is already laid out for us. We do not need to appeal to experts, pundits, or politicians to find answers or responses to such tragedies. We need only look to God's Word. There are three main responses the Christian should have to tragedies like this. We must Trust God's Plan. Pray for God's Peace. Share the Hope found in Christ.
Events like these can shake us to the core. They produce doubt and uncertainty in our safety. They provoke us to find reasons for such senseless violence. They make us wary of others. They make us feel helpless. But there is hope beyond our helplessness. Its found in faith!
Faith in Christ provides us with a firm foundation in the midst of such acts. The believers life is hid with Christ. He is working all things for their good. Nothing can separate them from His love. They are held in the Father's hands! Their life is never uncertain. Their hope will never fail. Their God is never powerless.
Because such events rattle us to our very core, the very core of our being must be firmly entrenched with a confident trust in God. His power, plan, and care for me as His child gives me confidence, not fear! "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" - Psalm 118:6 (ESV)
Countless times we have heard news anchors parrot the predictable words: "Our hearts and prayers are with the victims." While this sentiment makes for good TV, it is often not truly practiced by those watching the events unfold. We use prayer today as a nice way of saying "I feel for you."
But however insincere these words may be, the reality is that prayer is exactly what victims of such tragedies need. Through prayer, we communicate the grief of our hearts to God. Through prayer, we can ask our loving King to offer comfort and strength to those affected. Through prayer, we can call upon our Savior to introduce Himself to those who may not know Him but need Him desperately. He is the almighty Lord. He is the God of all comfort. He is the Savior who can sympathize with our pain.
We can feel so helpless to offer any assistance to those reeling from the loss of loved ones or recovering from their own injuries, yet we can do something tangible to help them. We can pray. God hears and answers prayer. Jesus prayed for Peter. Paul prayed for those who suffered. We are called on to pray for others. Praying for God to intercede in the lives of these victims is the right response to such hateful actions.
As we head to work, interact with our family and friends, or even strike up conversations with strangers while we wait in line to order coffee, this subject will doubtless come up. People will be talking about their own fears and insecurities about such violence. They will likely look to soothe their worried hearts by looking to the government or societal action to allay their fears. They will want laws, policies, and procedures developed to stop this from happening in the future.
The sum of these resp0nses will show a reliance on man to fix the problems of evil we encounter in the world. As Christians, we can offer something that is supremely better!
Instead of joining in the chorus of voices calling for civic action and political change, we can share the unflinching hope we have in Christ. Mankind's greatest efforts to curb evil will only, always fall short. But Christ will never fall short. As we demonstrate stalwart hope in Christ when tragedies befall the world we live, we have the opportunity to share with others the good news that they can also have this stalwart hope thorough faith in Christ. Instead of wringing our hands in frustration, we can lift those hands confidently toward God, and show the world what it means to trust Him in the midst of tragedy. Sharing our Faith with a hurting world offers hope beyond the current pain.
So how should we react at such tragedies. Shock, despair, and worry do not reflect the hope we have in Christ. Through our confidence in Christ, intercession for others, and proclamation of the hope we have in Christ, we can display real hope! And real hope, hope found in Christ, is exactly what the world needs most!
Helpful Links on this Tragedy from a Christian Worldview:
The Quill and the Sword is the blog of Pastor Phil Golden Jr. The quill represents the writings of the author and the sword is the Word of God. This blog is committed to producing engaging articles that are biblically based. The painting above is Eugene Siberdt's Martin Luther Translating the Bible.