As I woke up Monday morning to the news of the tragedy in Las Vegas, I felt a sense of hopelessness and a weight of despair for both our nation and our world. Words cannot express the heaviness of my heart in the wake of this tragedy, so I will not try to explain the weight, as I know you feel it too.
Instead, I will do the only thing a believer can do when faced with the reality of the wickedness found in the dark places of man’s heart. I will speak the truth of God’s word over the circumstances of this world. I will lean deeply into the scriptures that breathe life into my brokenness. I will not politicize the situation and try to solve what I know is the depths of sin and the depravity of man, which can only be resolved through belief in Christ Jesus. I will repent, personally. I will pray. I will grieve my own sin and stand in the gap as one who knows there is so much more to life than what I see with my temporal eyes. I will not believe the lie that I am made for wrath and I will experience the great peace that passes my human understanding as I lean into the promises of my maker and thank Him for His presence and His truth.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says…
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Love and truth are absolutes, they cannot be authentically communicated outside of their defined purposes and apart from their divine creator. You see, the truth is God is love. Truth cannot be spoken apart from Him who made life and love cannot be experienced without the author and perfecter of our faith.
So here is the truth…
Love is first patient then kind. Patient with the poor, “the huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Patient with the addict who once again finds himself backsliding and broken. Patient with the child who should have known better and the spouse who could have done more. Patient with the lost, the nonbeliever, the angry, the hurting.
Love is also kind. Kind to the stranger in this land, to the person from the other political party, to the one you disagree with online. Kind to those who persecute you and kind to those who choose to be unkind themselves.
Love cannot be jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love doesn’t demand its own way or become irritable. Love will not hold a grudge, which means love forgives continually.
Love will never rejoice in injustice; but will always find great joy when truth overcomes. Love won’t quit or give up and it will never lose faith. Love is hopeful always, no matter what and will endure every circumstance, even the dark moments filled with despair.
So if God is love, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4: 7-8)
In the wake of this tidal wave of tragedy, the feelings of despair and hopelessness threaten to swallow me whole; however, my spirit fights back with love. A complete and perfect love from God. A love that doesn’t excuse wrongdoing, but also doesn’t seek revenge. A love that prays for my enemies and those who persecute me, while asking God to soften hearts and heal brokenness. A love that mourns with those who mourn; while still having hope that God is bigger and has good plans for His people, plans for a future and a hope.
Today, I found that much needed hope on the pages of an American public school textbook. Words from 1967 spoken by Baptist Minister Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. seemed both poignant and appropriate for this turbulent time.
“As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough… I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I’m speaking….Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?…I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them. This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.”
Please pray. Pray today for all who are hurting because of this tragedy, for wisdom to fill the minds of our leaders as they face the aftermath, for hearts to see the broken, the lost, the quiet who suffer, for courage to stand up for those who need it and love to speak truth even when we are angry and hurting. Pray for revival to start here and now in our homes and our community. Pray for truth to win and for injustice to end. Pray for hands that share and for hearts that give. Please pray.
“Oh God forgive us.”