Some weeks ago, when you read or heard the news of the open gunfire that took place during a midnight screening of the new “Batman” film in Aurora, Colorado, how did it affect you or did it affect you at all? News can spread swiftly across miles, states and even countries but the shock and burden can be felt close to home. It’s disheartening to think of the families now left to suffer the injuries and loss of loved ones so unexpectedly and seemingly senseless.
In times of great tragedy and devastation such as the Columbine massacre, 9/11, the Tsunami in Sri Lanka, Hurricane Katrina, the Virginia Tech shooting and now the most recent shooting at the Empire State building, it’s only a matter of time before that age-old question of “Why” begins to deluge your mind with thoughts of shedding some reason for the pain and suffering around us.
I, myself, often wonder what others are thinking when massive tragedy strikes. Does it push you further from God, draw you closer or does it matter? Is it just another major happening to be shrugged off as “just a part of life” or does anyone find a deeper, more significant meaning beyond the surface? Curious to know, I decided to ask a few people for their thoughts......
“First, I was in total disbelief. I prayed for comfort and peace for the family. You don’t’ expect to send your child to a movie and never come home. Also, people are going to get crazier because of the end times. We can pray for safety and for God to have mercy on us. God is no respecter of person. It rains on the just and unjust, so it could happen at any movie or just walking down the street. It’s hard to get through.” Sharman L. Acworth, GA
“When you lose someone in the hospital and they’ve been sick, you’re expecting it but when something happens unexpectedly, you ask the question, “Why?” Sometimes, we just don’t understand but you have to believe that God knows and He is allowing it. We have to trust Him because it is going to get worse. You just have to lock into Jesus.” Helen O. Marietta, GA
“I always ask myself, “How did I escape it? This could have happened to me or why didn’t it happen to me?" It happens unexpectedly. I wonder how would I really react but you don’t know unless it happens to you. When it’s spontaneous, there’s nothing you can do. I do think of the families but I can’t put myself in their place. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent it, so you have to grab your faith and thank God that it’s not happening to you but you have to wonder if your life is more important than the person that it happened to.” Sam M. Stone Mountain, GA
“Jesus wept and identified with people's pain. John 11:35 - Jesus Wept. - It has been remarked that this is the shortest verse in the Bible; but it is exceedingly important and tender. It shows the Lord Jesus as a friend, a tender friend, and evinces his character as a man. He identifies with people's pain. If God and Christ identifies with your grief, it brings healing to your soul. We pray comfort to all those who are grieving.” Pastor Tez & Gala A. of Connect Church, Ellenwood, GA
I'm certain that if I asked others for their thoughts, the responses would continue to be as varied as we are as individuals - perhaps yielding some similarities but still diverse.
Though we don’t always understand all of the details behind the suffering here on this earth, we can be certain that God is Sovereign over all things and that strength, endurance and great purpose can rise from the pain. He has given us the liberty to make choices and He wants us to choose to live for Him even when life doesn’t seem fair. The fallen world that we live in today is a result of the sin that entered into the lives of mankind through Adam and Eve. The good news is that God sent His son Jesus to overcome the sufferings of today. Trials and tribulations will continue but amid tragedy and hardship, we can now live with the hope of a Savior that will some day bring everlasting peace and perfection to this earth once again.
Our hearts and prayers are with all who have experienced suffering as a result of some calamity. May the peace, love and grace of God be with them for years to come. If you know anything about suffering, then you know that God’s grace is remarkably sufficient even in the most tragic and difficult times. He is there to heal and embrace those who are broken and distressed. God’s unfailing love is vast and available – it’s only a choice away.