By Rob Pifer
If you’re like me, you’ve probably found yourself trying to navigate the normalcy of your week with the extra weight of processing the horrific shooting that took place this past Sunday [October 1, 2017] in Las Vegas. This tragic event truly was a painful and sobering reminder of the incredible brokenness and evil that truly inhabits this world we live in.
When events like these happen, a lot of thoughts and questions naturally run through our minds as we try to either make sense of such a violent and senseless act, or when we try find the right words to speak in the conversations we inevitably have to have with our families, friends and neighbors, and coworkers. It can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to not let ourselves fall into the temptation of worry and despair while we contemplate the realities of this world we live in.
I found myself in this place yesterday as I was preparing for what I was going to teach our teenagers during Youth Group last night, because I knew the Lord was leading me to forgo my original teaching plan and to instead speak about the Las Vegas shooting. As I was preparing my teaching I came across an article written by Jared C. Wilson that was posted earlier this week on The Gospel Coalition website titled, “What is God Saying About Las Vegas?.”
You can read the entire article HERE, but I wanted to pass along the excerpt below as an encouragement for all of us.
Jared concludes his article with the following exhortation:
For the believer in Christ, especially, we are to weep with those who weep and grieve the evil in the world, but we are not to be shaken to despair by events like these. We are not called to give up the reality that God is real, God is here, and God is putting all things in subjection under the feet of Jesus.
Paul tells the timid Timothy, "God has not given us a spirit of fear." Why? Because he knows that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.
We will weep with those who weep, we will bring comfort to those who mourn, but we will take courage because we know that sin and death are not the end of the story. We know that death's days are numbered. We know that those who mourn will be comforted, because Christ has triumphed over sin at the cross, and he has triumphed over death in his resurrection, and so he has given his word that he will have the final word.
No one is promised tomorrow, but the Christian is promised eternity. And this above all is why we must fix our eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. This is why we may get discouraged, but we should not get discombobulated.
And it is why the American Church will not be distracted or dissuaded from the gospel. It is the only hope for a world that feels hopeless, and it is the blessed hope for a world that is wasting away. Cute inspirational aphorisms cannot even begin to account for or answer to tragedies like mass murder. Only the gospel of the supremacy of Christ can do such a thing.
Four Oaks, this is my prayer for us. May we be a church that does not despair, but instead grieves together with hope over the evil in this world, weeps with and comforts those who weep, and stands firm together on the hope and promise of victory we have through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” - 1 Corinthians 15:55-58 (ESV)