Tragedy: an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.
The best word for the incident in Las Vegas is tragedy. Dozens of people shot to death, hundreds hospitalized, thousands affected, and millions saddened and outraged by the wicked and selfish actions of one person. Reckless evil caused on so many people.
I was praying with my son this morning about the situation, and it grieved me as my six-year-old asked questions of why the man did this. “Why did he decide to do this? Why did he make such a bad decision? Why did he want to hurt people?”
It hurts. It doesn’t make sense. These are people who died.
How do we deal with something like this as Christians? How do we comfort other people while they hurt in this?
Weep for the suffering of others.
This has been categorized as the largest mass shooting in American history. With so many videos with live feeds, millions are able to watch and hear the terror and fear of the people. I was scared when I watched it. I am incredibly saddened for these people and their families. And it’s appropriate for us to cry and weep over this evil act.
Paul says in Romans 12, “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another.”Regardless of people’s beliefs, upbringing, or place in society, these were all people who were made in the image of God. I am sure that of the victims and their loved ones, there were believers. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member was honored, all rejoice together.”
Jesus invites hurting people to come to him. We have a compassionate Savior who invites us to rest in him with our pain. We go to Jesus with our suffering because he’s the only one that offers real hope to deal with the pain the world brings. Jesus doesn’t turn away people because they are suffering. He loves people who are hurting. He invites us to COME, and we can extend that invitation to others while we grieve with them.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Because of the hope we have in Jesus, we can truly grieve and suffer well. Jesus doesn’t ask us to put on a happy face, but instead to be honest and seek him while we hurt. We can, and even should, weep for victims today.
Rest and trust in God’s perfect justice.
When I saw the news, my first instinct was sadness. My second was anger over the evil that took place. I think that we all can lean towards anger and a desire for revenge when we or someone we love gets hurt. As I continue to wrestle with the situation, I remember that God is still in control and will deal with this situation perfectly.
There will be a time where Christ will powerfully come as a champion and defeat death and evil once and for all. But the example that he set for us while he was here on earth was a resting and trust in God’s justice and plan over his immediate revenge. Back to Romans 12, Paul says in verse 19, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” If God says, “I got this,” then we can trust him. God’s justice is perfect. Our justice is flawed by selfishness and pride. God’s wrath is holy, our wrath is sinful. God’s decision making is always right. When people hurt us or people we love, we don’t look to seek revenge, but instead actively pray and put justice in God’s hands. Instead of seeking revenge, seek forgiveness. Seek peace. Trust in God to take care of punishment in His timing and with His perfect perspective.
Pray for Vegas this week.
Pray for the churches that are planted in this area. They have a huge burden to love and care for the people in this city as they grieve and try to process what happened. Pray for the families of the victims as they suffer tragic loss. Pray for the city government and law enforcement as they try to deal with this tragedy. Pray for the family of the shooter, as they must feel incredible sadness, shame, and even guilt over this whole situation.
Lord, come back soon. Help us. We need you. We put our hope in you.