This past week has been a week that will forever be remembered for its endless tears. On Tuesday, Amelia Tyler, one of our dear 8th grade students tragically lost her father after already losing her mother in an automobile accident in 2015. On Wednesday, 17 students of Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida lost their lives in a school shooting that can only be described as pure evil.
As we are once again reminded of the catastrophic destruction and heartache that sin leaves in its wake, in the immediate aftermath of these two tragedies we face the deafening question: “What now?” As followers of Jesus Christ who are processing such heartbreak, what is our response to be in the face of such loss?
The renowned preacher and founder of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, A.J. Gordon famously stated, “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.” The truth of this statement reminds us of our overwhelming inadequacy to even “deal with” these types of situations…so we turn to the only One who is able!
The very essence pf prayer is all about our submission and surrender to God. It is an acknowledgement that God is God and we are not. It is our recognition that the Author and Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe invites us to call Him Father. It is open and unfettered access to the One that can pick up the shards of a seemingly shattered life and craft something beautiful out of the brokenness. So, we pray and press into God.
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It is completely without error and it is wholly true. As it guides us to God, it reveals the heart of God. At all times, in all seasons, and in the midst of any circumstance, the Bible speaks directly to us. Even though we, from our vantage point and perspective, may not be able to fully understand how God will bring the promises of His Word to fruition, we believe…but based on His holiness, not on our intellect. Although there are many passages that are appropriate during our grief, below are some verses that bring about peace by pointing us back to the Prince of Peace:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
“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.” (Romans 8:28)
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.” (II Corinthians 4:8-12)
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Even though we do not have all the answers to our questions as they relate to these two recent tragedies, we do have hope and comfort in the powerful presence of God. We pray that God will completely envelop Amelia, her friends, and family members in His supernatural love. We pray that God will completely envelop the families and friends of these 17 high school students who had their lives taken from them with His supernatural love.
We have hope in knowing that God is near to the brokenhearted and binds up their (and our) wounds. We have hope in knowing that somehow God works all things (even devastating things) together for His good. We have hope in knowing that even when we are hurting, we are not crushed, in despair, abandoned, or destroyed. We have hope in knowing that one day Jesus Christ will return, and on that day there will be no more tears, no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, and no more pain. So, through our tears, we look to God. Through our confusion, we look to God. Through our anger, we look to God. Through our shock and numbness, we look to God. In all things, we look to God.