One doesn’t have to live in Las Vegas to know about the horrible tragedy which took place this past Sunday night with the mass shooting at the Mandala Bay Hotel; it is all over the news. Yet, for us locals who live in Las Vegas, this horrible tragedy which touched so many lives and the life of our city will forever be burned in our hearts and minds. The evil actions of one man, at least that is what they know right now, forever changed many lives and the life of our city. In just over 10 minutes, countless lives and the life of a city and nation was forever changed.
Our son is a Metro police officer and when my wife received the text from our son that there was an active shooter on the strip, I immediately knew this was not going to be good. My wife, who is a Chaplin for the Metro Police Department was told to immediately go to UMC hospital, where she ended up comforting the wife of the Metro police officer who tragically lost his life that night, along with 57 other people. Over 490 people were injured that night and the lives of many other police officers, first responders and countless innocent people were forever affected in ways one could never imagine.
As I’ve had a week to think about this horrible tragedy which took place in our city, the thought of what those countless innocent people saw as people all around them were being shot and falling down as they ran and the police officers who didn’t know if they would make it home, came to my mind. As I watched the countless videos of people running, trying to get out of harms way, and the police officers taking cover and risking their own lives to save others, my heart grieved. I heard many had placed on Facebook pages the words, “Come Lord Jesus” and I would surely say many of us would echo that same cry.
As these thoughts raced thru my heart, another thought came to my mind; I wonder what the Christians and their loved ones back in Biblical days felt as they were crying out as Christians were being martyred in many horrible ways for being followers of Jesus. We hear of Christians today being beheaded and killed just for being a Christian and one can easily began to think, “Where in the world are You Lord and Why are You letting such horrible things take place to those who have chosen to follow you?”
The families and loved ones of the 58 people who lost their lives Sunday night and the families and loved ones of the other 490 people who will forever bear scars of that fateful night, may be thinking those exact words. As I prayed and thought about this horrible tragedy all week, the Holy Spirit led me to a verse that at first wasn’t one I wanted to read nor I am sure those who were affected firsthand by this tragedy would not be one they would want to read as well, but the Word of God is truth and holds many promises for times just like this.
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” What good could possibly come out this horrible tragedy, where innocent lives were lost, where countless others were injured and where innocent people saw such terrible carnage take place right before their eyes one would ask? The Word of God is either true in all that it says or it isn’t true in anything it says.
We may never know why so many innocent people had to die that night, we may never know why so many people will forever bare the physical and emotional scars of this tragedy, we may never know why people had to witness such carnage take place before their very eyes, but one thing we do know, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose.”
A time of healing needs to take place but we know there was a reason one didn’t die that night; there was a reason one had to see that horrible carnage, there is a reason many will have to bear emotional and physical scars of that fateful evening; the reason being, God has something good that will come out of this in our personal lives and the life of our city. The question we need to seek the Lord about is, ‘What do You want me to do, for I know you saved my life for a reason? Am I currently living my life in a way that pleases you Lord? Am I currently going to church and more than that, helping and serving in that church in every way I can? Are there relationships you need me to mend? The list goes on and on.
In all things Paul writes and that means all things, God works for the good in us. Those are easy words to read but very difficult to understand when we have just gone through something horrible, yet they remain truth no matter what we may thing. Let’s look for the good right now my dear brother and sister; it is right before our eyes!
Categories: A Pastor's Blog